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Galax has third highest number of Coronavirus cases in our region

Regularly scheduled COVID-19 testing starts Monday

Virginia Department of Health sign in Martinsville, Virginia.
Virginia Department of Health sign in Martinsville, Virginia. (WSLS 10)

GALAX, Va. – The City of Galax has 80 reported cases of coronavirus according to VDH data released Sunday. The city has the third highest number of cases in our viewing area behind Roanoke City’s 120 reported cases and Roanoke County’s 85 reported cases. No deaths have been reported in Galax from the virus.

About 7,000 people live in Galax according to 2010 census data, compared to about 100,000 in Roanoke City.

The Mount Rogers Health District director Karen Shelton addressed the community’s concern last week in a letter.

“We attribute this to several large families who have had COVID cases. CDC has documented that household transmission rates are generally very high. There has not been much social distancing going on in the community previous to now. Many of these families have individuals who work in many businesses, and that has also had an effect on the spread of disease.”

She goes on to say that they are working to do contact tracing on every person “including working with them on isolation and quarantine agreements”.

Starting Monday, May 18 the Mount Rogers Health District will be offering regularly scheduled COVID-19 testing for active disease (PCR testing). You can call your local health department for an appointment on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can call and they will do a screening over the phone to see if you qualify for testing.

  • Wythe County Health Department: 276-228-5507
  • Carroll County Health Department: 276-730-3180
  • Galax City Health Department: 276-236-6127

Letter from the Virginia Department of Health concerning COVID-19 from Wednesday, May 13:

We have had an increased number of cases in the Galax greater community including Carroll and some in Grayson - the Twin County area.

We attribute this to several large families who have had COVID cases. CDC has documented that household transmission rates are generally very high. There has not been much social distancing going on in the community previous to now. Many of these families have individuals who work in many businesses, and that has also had an effect on the spread of disease.

The Mount Rogers Health District has undertaken the following actions in regards to the COVID cases in Galax:

  • We have been very diligent in case investigation and contact tracing every individual, including working with them on isolation and quarantine agreements.
  • We have worked with every business that has been affected to promote safety for the workers in the business.
  • We have increased our testing greatly in this area, having held 4 large testing sites in the last 2 weeks, which has also contributed to an increase in documented positive cases.
  • We have worked with county and city officials on messaging for the communities.

At this point there have not been any specific outbreaks of concern in medically vulnerable populations.

Everyone needs to do their part to be socially responsible to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please do the following:

  • Wear a face cloth covering in public - everywhere!
  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently. If soap and water are not available use hand sanitizer.
  • Socially distance yourself in public - give people space - at least 6 feet apart.
  • STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK.

Thank you for your interest,

Karen Shelton MD

Director Mount Rogers Health District, Virginia Department of Health


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