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Orange fire and rescue dealing with outbreak as Fredericksburg area sets daily record for new virus cases
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Orange fire and rescue dealing with outbreak as Fredericksburg area sets daily record for new virus cases

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The Rappahannock Area Health District reported a record high of new COVID-19 cases on Monday while the Orange County Fire & EMS Department placed 11 workers in quarantine after six of them tested positive for the virus.

The Orange department shifted schedules to maintain minimum staffing levels on ambulances, Chief Nathan Mort said in a press release. It currently has 37 career staff serving the county’s 34,000 residents, according to the department website.

To mitigate further spread among workers, the department is continuing to follow safety protocols, such as issuing personal protective gear to employees; requiring them to wear N95 masks, eye protection and gloves on every call; sanitizing high-touch surface areas, vehicles and equipment; and screening employees daily, according to the press release.

The outbreak came as counties, health districts and the state itself set records for the largest number of new cases in a single day.

The Rappahannock Area Health District, which includes Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford, reported 139 new cases on Monday. The previous record was 127 new cases on June 14, when an outbreak tore through a Spotsylvania County nursing home, eventually resulting in 115 cases and 20 deaths.

Since the pandemic began, 7,601 people have tested positive for the virus in the local health district.

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Virginia also set a daily record on Monday with 3,242 new cases reported. Other localities showed similar—and staggering—increases.

Stafford County passed the 3,000 mark with 64 additional people testing positive, bringing its total to 3,054 cases. Culpeper County reported 173 new positive test results for a cumulative total of 2,050 cases.

“Frankly, we have more and more disease in our area,” Dr. Denise Bonds, acting director of the Rappahannock Area Health District, said last week. “I think people are tired of the restrictions.

“I think people are becoming less rigorous about wearing masks all the time, and people are going out to eat more and socializing more with their friends and family that they haven’t seen, and that’s leading to higher infection rates.”

To date, 2,967 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Spotsylvania County; 661 in Fredericksburg; 548 in Caroline County; and 371 in King George County.

Elsewhere in the region, there have been 1,387 cases in Fauquier County; 540 in Orange County; and 406 in Westmoreland County.

Across the state, 221,038 people have tested positive and 3,942 have died from COVID-19 since March, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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