RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Officials report the first coronavirus related death in Virginia on Saturday afternoon.

Virginia Department of Health and the Peninsula Health District reported the death of a hospitalized patient who previously tested positive for COVID-19. 

The patient was a male in his 70s that died from respiratory failure due to the coronavirus. The man caught the virus from an unknown source.

Governor Northam released the following statement about the death.

Pam and I were deeply saddened to learn that a Virginian has died from COVID-19, and we grieve for everyone this virus has touched around the world.

The health of Virginians and our communities is my most important priority right now. As a Commonwealth, we have taken major, critical steps to stop the spread of COVID- 19. I have declared a state of emergency, closed K-12 schools across the state, restricted visitors at nursing homes and correctional facilities, limited state employee travel, and canceled large events. 

This is a public health crisis—we must all treat it as such.

Again, I urge Virginians: take this seriously. Take basic health precautions, avoid large gatherings, telework if possible, and stay home if you are sick. That will stop the virus from spreading. 

It is all of our responsibility, yours and mine, to keep each other safe and healthy.

You deserve to know next steps. I will meet with local officials on the Peninsula tomorrow, and we will speak to the community at 12:00 PM about additional measures we are taking to combat COVID-19.

Governor Ralph Northam

Virginia Peninsula Local Government Leaders released a statement Saturday night acknowledging the rise in positive coronavirus cases. They are urging all Peninsula residents to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people to include church services, social gatherings, and public events.

The release went on to remind citizens that critical needs such as grocery shopping, getting gas, and other essential tasks should not be neglected but to observe proper hygiene and safety guidelines.

This is a breaking news story. Stay with WAVY for updates.

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