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Two more in region die from COVID-19

Two more people from the Western Tidewater Health District, including one each from Suffolk and Isle of Wight County, have died from COVID-19, according to information from the Virginia Health Department Wednesday.

In all, six people from the health district have died as a result of COVID-19, including three from Suffolk, two from Isle of Wight County and one from Southampton County.

District-wide, 249 people have tested positive for COVID-19, including 126 in Suffolk (up 15 from Tuesday), 90 in Isle of Wight (up two), 19 in Southampton County (up one) and 14 in Franklin (up two). VDH reports that 1,312 people in the health district have been tested for COVID-19.

The updated numbers came later than normal Wednesday, as the state health department did not provide an online update until about 5 p.m., citing an error overnight in the process that compiles COVID-19 case information.

Earlier in the week, the health department began reporting additional data on its website, including cases, hospitalizations and fatalities at the local level, as well as cases, hospitalizations and fatalities by demographics at the district level, the ability to differentiate between confirmed and probable cases and rates per 100,000 population.

Across the state Wednesday, the state health department reported an increase of 636 reported COVID-19 cases, from 9,630 to 10,266, with 1,659 total hospitalizations (up from 1,581). About 349 have died from COVID-19 in the state, up from 324 Tuesday.

The state health department is reporting both confirmed and probable information on the total cases, hospitalizations and deaths. There have been six outbreaks in the district — five of those at long-term care facilities and another at the Deerfield Correctional Facility.

Statewide, the health department reported 10,266 total positive COVID-19 cases — 9,952 confirmed and 314 it listed as probable. It listed 1,659 total hospitalizations, all but three are confirmed with the others being probable. The department is reporting that 349 people have died, all but two confirmed.

The state, to date, has opted not to name long-term care facilities experiencing outbreaks, citing privacy concerns.

However, Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver on Tuesday announced that long-term care facilities and skilled nursing facilities in neighboring areas can share information on positive COVID-19 cases.

The information includes case identification and contact investigation efforts, according to a news release.

According to state code, the state health commissioner has the authority to release public health information “if it is pertinent to an investigation.”

“Although these health care providers are permitted to share this information, these details remain confidential, per the code of Virginia, and will not be released to the public,” according to the release.

“Many essential health care employees work at multiple facilities, serving Virginia’s most vulnerable during this pandemic,” the release states. “Out of concern for their safety and the safety of patients, the State Health Commissioner is releasing this information to aid VDH’s state and local efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

The Eastern Virginia Medical School will host a COVID-19 panel discussion from noon until 1:30 p.m. Thursday on Facebook Live at facebook.com/EVMSedu.

Representatives from Sentara Healthcare, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters and the Chesapeake Health Department will join EVMS faculty will take part in the panel discussion, “COVID-19 Update: What the Public Should Know.” They will answer questions following prepared remarks.

The panelists include:

  • Dr. Edward Oldfield III, Professor of Internal Medicine at EVMS and Infectious Disease Specialist
  • Dr. Serina Neumann, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at EVMS
  • Dr. Michael Hooper, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at EVMS and Vice President of Medical Affairs for Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
  • Dr. Doug Mitchell, Professor of Pediatrics at EVMS and Medical Director of Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Medical Group
  • Dr. Nancy Welch, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at EVMS and Director of the Chesapeake Health Department

To submit questions ahead of the event, email news@evms.edu.