NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Monday afternoon, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported the death of a hospitalized patient who previously tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

The patient was a man in his 70s who got the virus through an unknown source. The cause of death was respiratory failure, according to VDH.

This is Virginia’s second coronavirus-related death. The first death was reported Saturday and involved another man in his 70s.

“It is a sad day in our community as we learn that a local resident has died from COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. We will continue to work toward a day where no one dies from this virus,” said Peninsula Health Department Acting Director Dr. Steve Julian, MD, MBA, FAC.

People who come in close contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19 are at greatest risk of getting the virus themselves.

To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

The number of positive coronavirus cases in Virginia is now at 51 as of Monday afternoon, with the Peninsula Health District having the most cases of any in the commonwealth.

The Peninsula district’s total of 11 cases include 10 in James City County, where Governor Ralph Northam has urged residents to avoid gatherings of 50 people or more, including church services and gathering in crowded bars and restaurants, which goes along with a new recommendation from the Centers of Disease Control that people nationwide should avoid gatherings of 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks.

The other new case in the Peninsula district, which also includes Newport News, Poquoson and Williamsburg, was in York County, VDH says. 4 cases in Virginia Beach are the only other reported positive cases in Hampton Roads.

VDH says 489 people in total have been tested so far statewide.

On Monday in Hampton Roads, Sentara Healthcare announced it will start drive-thru screening and testing for COVID-19 at 1 p.m. They’re emphasizing the need to ensure testing for high-risk patients first.

You can read the questionnaire and get more information here before deciding to be tested.

This breaking article will be updated.

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