A Spotsylvania County man in his 70s has become the 15th confirmed COVID-19 fatality in the Rappahannock Area Health District.

No other information was provided about the white male, whose death was reported Sunday. It had been almost two weeks since a COVID-19 fatality; the last two deaths involved Stafford County women—one in her 40s and one in her 80s—and were reported May 12.

To date, 12 of the 15 local fatalities associated with the novel coronavirus have been among seniors: four people in their 60s, five in their 70s and three in their 80s. Two people in their 40s, and one man in his 50s also have died.

There have been five deaths in Spotsylvania County; four in both Stafford and King George County; and two in Caroline County. Fredericksburg is the only locality in the health district with no reported fatalities.

Meanwhile, the number of local health district workers exposed in an outbreak continues to rise. Ten RAHD staff members had tested positive as of Sunday, and another 19 were under quarantine because they were at risk for some level of exposure, according to the health district’s daily report.

Health departments in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania will be open Tuesday, but the Stafford Health Department will remain closed because of the lack of staff. No in-person clinical services will be offered at any of the health departments through Thursday.

As of Sunday, 8,129 people in the local health district had been tested for the virus. They took PCR tests, which require a sample from the nasal cavity that shows if there’s a current infection, and the area’s rate for positive tests was 13.4 percent. That rate had been in the high teens, but continues to come down; public health officials say positive rates over 10 percent indicate there’s not enough testing available.

Stafford continues to lead the local health district with 581 virus cases. There were 401 in Spotsylvania; 118 in Fredericksburg; 54 in King George; and 47 in Caroline.

Meanwhile, Culpeper County, which had 594 cases on Sunday, has one of the highest rates of virus cases in the commonwealth. The Virginia Department of Health calculates the rate of cases per 100,000 people, and Culpeper’s rate is 1,145. That rate is higher than any of the Northern Virginia localities which have recorded the most cases in the state. Other rates per 100,000 people in the virus hot spots to the north are 1,080 in Alexandria; 955 in Prince William County; 789 in Arlington County; and 781 in Fairfax County.

Elsewhere in the region, there were 282 cases in Fauquier County on Sunday; 80 in Orange County; and 48 in Westmoreland County.

Virginia reported 36,244 cases and 1,171 deaths associated with COVID-19.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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