First deaths in Richmond related to COVID-19 were Greyhound bus drivers

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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — The Richmond City Health District has reported their first two deaths of city residents related to COVID-19.

They're among the 34 total COVID-19 deaths that have been reported across Virginia as of April 1.

Health officials said both men were in their 70s and died in the hospital. Both suffered from underlying, chronic conditions.

“We are sad to confirm the passing of two beloved members of our Greyhound family due to COVID-19 complications," Greyhound said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family members and friends. We are heartbroken and shaken by this tragedy and we have communicated with their families to offer assistance during this difficult time. We also have grief counseling available to assist our team members in processing this shocking news. Both will be missed dearly and made a tremendous impact on those who knew them and our business. For the privacy of their families, we are not releasing their names at this time."

Officials said both men had recently spent time working in New Jersey. Greyhound said the employees, a driving instructor and driver manager, participated in an out-of-town, routine training.

“The course ended early due to COVID-19 precautions and prior to becoming aware that they were impacted. Participants in the training did not complete the course and have not driven any buses for Greyhound,” Greyhound said.

The Richmond City Health District is working to determine who may have come into contact with them.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that this pandemic has claimed its first lives in our community, and my condolences go out to the families of these men,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “This virus knows no borders, which is why it is critically important that we continue to follow health protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and adhere to Governor Northam’s executive order. Stay home and keep Richmond safe.”

“Every loss we experience at the hands of this disease is tragic,” said Dr. Danny Avula, director of the Richmond City and Henrico Health Districts. "I hope this news gives our community even more resolve to stay home, strictly follow the isolation and quarantine guidelines, and to limit our physical interactions with others.”