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The Virginia Department of Health announced Friday that a teenage resident of the state’s Southside Health District who tested positive for COVID-19 has died. 

It is the first reported COVID-19 death of a child in Virginia. The Southside Health District includes Brunswick, Halifax and Mecklenburg, Virginia.

The VDH will disclose no further information about the teenager to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family, according to a statement that was posted to the VDH website.

“We were extremely saddened to learn of the loss of the state’s first adolescent with COVID-19. On behalf of all of us at VDH, I extend sincere condolences to the teenager’s family and loved ones,” state Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver said in the statement.

“No age group is immune from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this unfortunate event, along with the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases we are seeing in some areas of the commonwealth, is a reminder that we all need to do our part to help slow the spread of virus in the community.”

This fatality will be reflected on the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard update for Saturday, Sept. 19, the statement said.

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:

  • Stay home as much as possible, except for essential travel;
  • Wear a cloth face covering if you must go out;
  • Practice social distancing and maintain at least 6 feet of space between yourself and other individuals;
  • 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;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
  • 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;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • Avoid large gatherings and contact with crowds, especially with those not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing guidelines.
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