City government, school systems report virus cases
Norton city government says two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, while the city school system has confirmed two other cases and the Wise County school system has confirmed one case.
Norton City Manager Fred Ramey confirmed Saturday that two city hall employees had tested positive for the virus.
“For everyone’s safety, those team members will be isolated until they are cleared to return to duty,” he wrote, adding that staff has been working to sanitize city hall.
Although Ramey expected city hall to be open yesterday with regular hours, he noted that citizens can access many city services by phone or computer. Anyone who wants to receive city services by visiting city hall is asked to wear a mask and maintain appropriate physical distancing.
The Norton school system released a letter Wednesday, Sept. 30, confirming that a “student or staff member” had tested positive. The person has not been on school premises since Sept. 24, the letter noted.
In an Oct. 2 letter, the school system noted that a “student or staff member” at Norton Elementary and Middle School had tested positive; that person had not been on school premises since Sept. 29.
Last Friday, the county school system’s website noted that a student had tested positive. The notice included a link to the letter that was sent to parents and guardians, which stated that a “student or staff member” had tested positive. School officials were working with the county health department to identify anyone who had close contact with the person, the letter stated.
A Sunday update on the county schools’ website specified that the positive case involved a student who had not been on school premises Oct. 1 and there had been no exposure to students or staff at school. However, there was “potential” exposure on a school bus.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wise County increased by 24 between last Thursday and yesterday.
The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday morning that the county’s total confirmed cases in the months since the pandemic began had risen to 450, as compared to 426 Thursday.
The number of deaths in the county remained at nine.
Meanwhile, the health department’s cumulative positive case count for Norton increased by four to 39.
Statewide, the total number of confirmed cases across several months rose from 140,990 Thursday to 144,439 Monday, an increase of 3,449. The number of “probable” cases rose from 7,731 Thursday to 8,118 Monday, an increase of 387.
During the same period, the number of confirmed deaths in Virginia increased by 48 to 3,063. The number of probable COVID-19 deaths remained at 213.
To look at the health department’s data, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov and go to the COVID-19 Data and Resources section.
The state health department reminds citizens that an executive order is in effect requiring people to wear cloth face coverings while they are in indoor public spaces.
“Cloth face coverings can help protect the people around you,” the department explains on its website. “Many people with COVID-19 have no signs or symptoms and can pass the virus to others without knowing it. When we talk, sneeze, or cough, tiny droplets that contain the virus can be carried into the air. Wearing a cloth face covering helps stop those droplets from going into the air or landing on surfaces.”
In other words, wearing a face mask is intended to protect not yourself, but those around you. Refusing to wear a face mask in a supermarket, convenience store, pharmacy or other indoor public setting means that you are putting those around you at greater risk.
Although the executive order has been in place for months, those traveling around Wise County and Norton continue to frequently encounter people who enter public indoor facilities without wearing a face covering. While most businesses have posted signs near entrances reminding patrons of the mask requirement, actual enforcement remains spotty at best.
Anyone who is concerned about others not being required to wear a face mask indoors can file an online complaint by going to https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=Y4P9H7DTWA.
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