Virginia Sees First Student Die of COVID-19
By Brian Carlton
September 18, 2020

Health department says the teenager lived in the Southside Health District.

BOYDTON-A student who tested positive for COVID-19 died this week in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health made the announcement Friday, adding that details would be scarce, out of respect for the family. 

The student was an adolescent from the Southside Health District, according to the Department of Health. The district covers Brunswick, Halifax and Mecklenburg counties. This marks the first COVID-19 related death of someone under the age of 19 in Virginia. 

“VDH will disclose no further information about the teenager to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family,” the department said in a statement. 

This comes the same week as the department added 96 deaths to the overall total. These weren’t 96 new cases, however. A computer error prevented accurate reporting. Health department staff fixed the error, they told the Dogwood, saying it would be reviewed regularly from now on.

As of Friday, the caseload across the commonwealth stood at 139,000, up 1,101 from Thursday. There have been 2,949 deaths since March. Fairfax County still has the largest number of cases, coming in at 20,041 with 574 deaths. Prince William County stands at 11,966, with 196 deaths. The numbers should increase next week, as the backlog of data is fixed. You can follow the daily numbers at the department’s dashboard here

Staff Officials Urge Caution

Overall, state officials urged people to use caution in order to avoid getting the COVID-19 virus. 

“We were extremely saddened to learn of the loss of the state’s first adolescent with COVID-19. On behalf of all of us at VDH, I extend sincere condolences to the teenager’s family and loved ones,” said State Health Commissioner Dr.Norman Oliver.  “No age group is immune from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this unfortunate event, along with the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases we are seeing in some areas of the Commonwealth, is a reminder that we all need to do our part to help slow the spread of virus in the community.”

Department officials reminded people to wear a cloth face covering when out in public, as well as to practice social distancing. Beyond that, people were asked to stay home when sick and wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

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