Pictured: Russell Vreeland and his company Eastern Shore Microbes. File photo.

By Ted Shockley

One of the two Eastern Shore men who tested positive for Covid-19 encouraged others to heed warnings in an interview Tuesday night, saying, “This is a hefty virus.”

“People do need to listen to what is being said,” said Russell Vreeland, who lives in Craddockville and allowed himself to be identified in this report.

“I’m not sure what I can tell people that will ease fears,” said Vreeland, who feels he came into contact with the coronavirus in the Charlotte, N.C., airport several weeks ago.

“A person sat down behind us and started hacking and coughing like crazy,” he said, adding, “Despite everything we did maintaining our ‘social distancing,’ one person kind of messed it up.”

He started a cough March 13 and a week later developed a fever that has persisted since. A person with whom Vreeland was traveling also tested postive but could not be reached by phone Tuesday night.

The 69-year-old Vreeland, who holds a Ph.D. in microbial physiology and biochemistry, credited the Eastern Shore Health Department and area medical professionals for their response.

“It’s obivious from my experience that they not only prepared for this, they practiced it,” said Vreeland. 

“These people are first rate. You can’t beat them. They did their job and they love their job.”

He said his doctor’s office and the health department have been in contact with him daily. His wife has not contracted the virus. 

He said he isolated himself after starting the cough and the health department “within a few hours identified all 22 people I was in contact with.” 

All have been quarantined. “They even identified a person I had been in contact with that I didn’t even remember, because it was only for five mintues.”

Virginia has reported more than 300 COVID-19 cases. There have been seven deaths linked to the illness.

His advice to the Eastern Shore: “This would not be a time of complacency. Depend on your health department.”