Officials have been urging citizens to institute best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic warning of possible community spread, and now they are saying Franklin County is experiencing a sustained community transition.

A sustained community transition is identified when there are more than five cases, not including family members, acquired in the community, according to an April 3 advisory from the county.

At press time, there were 12 known cases in the county. One of the 12 was hospitalized in Roanoke, officials say, but has since been released and isolated at home. At least three had placed out of isolation due to resolution of symptoms, according to West Piedmont Population Health Manager Nancy Bell. Others were isolated in their homes.

“Individuals whose isolation period have been cleared are asked to follow Virginia’s stay-at-home executive order, except in extremely limited circumstances,” Bell said.

Five of the cases are men, all age 40 or older, two of them had known exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and three did not. The remaining cases are women, all age 50 or older. Three of the women had exposure to someone who had the virus; three women had traveled and one had no known exposure and had not traveled.

The Virginia Department of Health would not identify the areas or towns the patients were from, Bell said.

Cases of COVID-19 are expected to continue to rise this week, both nationally and locally, as more are identified through testing. According to the advisory, “More often people with symptoms associated with COVID-19 (fever, coughing and difficulty breathing) are being evaluated by their health care provider … some people who are carriers for the novel coronavirus don’t show symptoms but can transmit the virus.”

Those with milder symptoms must stay home, avoid others, take fever-reducing medications and practice infection control at home. If symptoms become more serious, they should seek emergency care.

Apart from social distancing , residents are urged to practice healthy disease prevention practices, including:

• Washing hands often with soap

• Avoiding touching their face with unwashed hands

• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

• Staying home if they are sick

• Avoiding groups of 10 or more people

• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces



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