Fairfax County reports first coronavirus death

Map of state with various colors indicating where coronavirus is
Areas in the state with positive coronavirus cases, with the darkest being where the most are. (State of Virginia image)

An area man in his 60s has died from respiratory illness caused by coronavirus, the Fairfax County Department of Health announced Saturday.

The man, who was not identified, had been hospitalized and was believed to have contracted coronavirus from another county resident he had been in contact with. He is the third person in the state to die of complications from coronavirus since the illness was first reported in the commonwealth on March 7.

Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, the Director of Health for the Health Department, expressed sadness at the death in a press release, and reiterated the need for residents to practice social distancing and take other precautions to protect themselves from coronavirus.

“The health of our residents is our top priority and we ask that everyone do their part to slow the spread of the virus in our community: practice social distancing, wash your hands, and cover coughs and sneezes,” Addo-Ayensu said.

Earlier in the day the county had announced that there were six new positive cases of coronavirus in the Fairfax Health District, which includes the county, the City of Falls Church and Fairfax City. The total marked the biggest single-day jump in cases in Fairfax County, which now has 22 cases total. Arlington County also has 22 positive cases.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said Friday night that Inova, which operates the three largest hospitals in Fairfax, is working with the county “to maximize the health care services available for our community during the evolving COVID-19 situation.”

Previously Inova had said that it had a very limited supply of testing kits, making drive-through testing too difficult at the moment. It is unclear how many tests there have been so far in the county.

“Inova has contracted with multiple commercial labs to provide increased testing to patients when they meet the testing criteria,” McKay said in his newsletter update, which can be read here. “They are also pursuing additional options to provide in house testing capabilities in the coming weeks.”

So far there is no confirmed “community spread” of coronavirus in Fairfax County, although two cases reported prior to today remain under investigation, according to the Health Department. Community spread is when a person contracts the illness through contact with an unknown person.

Current coronavirus cases breakdown:

  • Cases in Fairfax County: 22 (as of March 21)
  • Tests Fairfax County: Unknown (as of March 21)
  • Deaths in Fairfax County: 1 (as of March 21)
    source: Fairfax Department of Health

  • Cases in Virginia: 152 (as of March 21)
  • Tests in Virginia: 2,790 (as of March 21)
  • Deaths in Virginia: 3 (as of March 21)
    source: Virginia Department of Health

  • Cases in U.S. 15,219 (as of March 20)
  • Tests in United States: unknown (as of March 20)
  • Deaths in United States: 201 (as of March 20)
    source: CDC.gov

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