Dr. Molly O’Dell, director of communicable disease control for Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts: ‘Don’t think Phase 1 means everything is fine’


UPDATE 11:39 a.m.: Dr. Molly O’Dell, the director of communicable disease control for Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, recommends Virginians to keep doing what is necessary to prevent spreading the coronvairus, even as more businesses are set to reopen.

The warning comes as southwest Virginia plans to enter into “Phase One” of reopening the economy on Friday.

O’dell says there have been 20 new cases of COVID-19 in the area in a little more than one day.

During a Tuesday morning phone conference, Odell said all of the new cases are related to five active outbreaks and family members of those originally sick.

Dr. Odell says Phase One does not mean everything will be back to normal.

“Every one of us has to be on guard and make conscious decisions,” she said. “Are we going to be part of the containment of the virus or are we going to be a part of more wide spread shedding of this virus?

O’Dell encourages people to continue social distancing, wear face coverings when in public and clean surfaces often.

“The same rigorous discipline needs to continue even when things reopen on Friday,” she said. “This is a real call for citizens to do the right thing.”

As of Tuesday morning, there are 293 confirmed cases in the area.

140 in Roanoke City. 71 in Roanoke County, 40 in Salem, Botetourt County has 30, there are six in Alleghany County, five in Craig and one in Covington.

19 people have died.

Dr. Odell says of all the cases, 170 women tested positive while 123 men contracted the virus.

There are 55 active cases, which means the people remain in isolation.

Currently, there are significant guidelines that remain in place.

Swimming pools in the area remain closed for recreational purposes.

O’Dell says they can only be used for physical fitness.

The Virginia Department of Health is determining how long antibodies last or if there is any immunity as a result.

At this point, the health department is not recommending antibody testing, which is a blood test.


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR)- Dr. Molly O’Dell, the director of communicable disease control for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, plans to give an update on the coronavirus response.

Virginia Department of Health’s new information will be through a phone conference call scheduled from 11 a.m.

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