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Southwest Virginia health districts activate COVID-19 call centers

Staff report • Mar 28, 2020 at 9:00 PM

WISE — The Lenowisco and Cumberland Plateau health districts have public health call centers for Southwest Virginia residents with questions about COVID-19.

The number for the Lenowisco call center, which serves Lee, Wise and Scott counties and Norton, is (276) 415-3430. The same number serves the Cumberland Plateau district, which serves Russell, Dickenson, Tazewell and Buchanan counties. The call centers are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m.

Callers can get COVID-19 information including:

— Symptoms

— Ways to minimize exposure for yourself and loved ones

— Local and statewide testing conditions

— Testing resources and how they are used

— What to do when you think you are ill

The centers are staffed by employees from various Virginia health departments. Callers getting a busy signal should wait and call back a few minutes later, because the centers do not have voice mailboxes.

Only callers with a life-threatening emergency should call 911.

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. In a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, even death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. 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 lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:

— Stay home when you are sick

— Avoid contact with sick people

— Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing

— Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

— Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

— If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor

— Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public

— Avoid crowds of more than 10 people

For more information on COVID-19 and ways to protect yourself and those you love, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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