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BREAKING: Arlington County Announces First Coronavirus Deaths

(Updated at 2 p.m.) Two locals have died after contracting COVID-19, the first reported deaths from the disease in Arlington.

Arlington County announced the deaths Sunday afternoon. The victims were older and had “chronic medical conditions,” the county said.

“The first patient was a 72-year-old with chronic medical conditions, who had been ill with COVID-19 for a few weeks,” the county said in a press release. “The second was a 60-year-old with chronic medical conditions, identified with COVID-19 this past week. The close contacts of both patients have been identified.”

“We are saddened by the deaths of two Arlington County residents related to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to their loved ones,” Arlington Health District Director Dr. Reuben Varghese said in a statement. “These deaths, along with the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases we are seeing in the region, are a reminder that we all must be vigilant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The health of our residents is our top priority and we know our residents and our community share that priority. We ask that everyone do their part to prevent germ spread: practice social distancing, wash your hands, and cover your coughs and sneezes.”

As of Sunday, there were 84 known cases of COVID-19 in Arlington, up from 26 seven days earlier. Statewide, there have been 890 reported cases, 112 hospitalizations, 22 deaths, and 10,609 people tested, according to the Virginia Dept. of Health.

Also today, the Fairfax Health District — which includes Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church and towns within the county — reported 188 positive cases, including 32 new cases, and two deaths. As of Saturday, the District of Columbia has reported 342 positive cases and five deaths.

To slow the spread of the virus, Arlington County is advising residents to stay at home, frequently and thoroughly wash one’s hands, and avoid close contact with others. More from the county press release:

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To decrease the potential for the virus to spread, the Arlington Health District recommends:

  • Avoid non-essential travel and public gatherings, especially if you are an individual who is at increased risk for severe illness, including pregnant women, older adults and person of any age with underlying health conditions.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Immediately wash your hands if you used a tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces with an EPA approved agent effective against human coronaviruses and flu.
  • Practice social distancing by staying six feet or more away from others.
  • If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home. If you need medical care, call your healthcare provider prior to going to their office. If it is an emergency, as always, call 911 immediately.

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