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‘This is a virus that does not take a break’: Health director continues urging masks, social distancing to prevent coronavirus spread

Warning comes in light of a workplace outbreak in the New River Valley

Two students wear masks on Virginia Tech's campus.
Two students wear masks on Virginia Tech's campus. (WSLS)

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Health Department’s leader in the New River Valley is encouraging people to continue practicing safe behaviors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, coronavirus outbreaks in the New River Valley have predominantly been student-related; however, the region is currently seeing a workplace outbreak, according to Dr. Noelle Bissell, the director of the New River Health District.

Across Southwest Virginia, she said that there are currently 71 active workplace outbreaks.

“The New River Valley is also experiencing a workplace outbreak this week and we will see a rise in reported new cases of COVID-19. We expect to see more new cases throughout the region during the coming days, as we increase testing and conduct contact tracing,” explained Bissell.

Those at work are reminded to wear masks and practice physical distancing in break rooms, meeting rooms or anytime they are in vehicles with others, both inside and outside of the workplace.

Despite the coronavirus being in Virginia for at least the past seven months, Bissell wants to make sure people still are vigilant in how they stay safe.

“If you consistently wear your mask, keep your distance and wash your hands, whether you are at work, at school or relaxing, your chance of contracting COVID-19 is very low,” said Bissell.

The health district has set up a website with to help business know the what to do if an employee or customer is diagnosed with COVID-19.