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Virginia still on the downtrend as Phase 3 approaches

The Piedmont Health District was listed by The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Wednesday, June 24, as having a total positive coronavirus case count of 989, up from 920 a week prior.

H. Robert Nash

Of the 69-case increase, the majority of those new cases were from Nottoway County. Nottoway was listed last Wednesday, June 17, as having experienced a total of 68 cases of the virus. On June 24, that number had risen to 106.

Buckingham County had risen in one week from 542 to 553, and Lunenburg County rose from 21 to 30. Prince Edward increased from 171 to 176.

Cumberland County saw one additional case in the last week, going from 50 cases to 51. Charlotte did the same, rising from 30 to 31.

The Dillwyn Correctional Center in Buckingham County, as of Wednesday, officially had zero cases of the coronavirus in its inmate population, with only one active staff member case. The Buckingham Correctional Center was listed as having 15 active offender cases and six staff cases.

The Immigration Centers of America ICE detention facility in Farmville was listed as having 47 cases of the virus in its inmate population.

Piedmont Health District Director Dr. H. Robert Nash said Wednesday the health district had seen 54 new cases in the entire district since Tuesday, June 16, to June 23, 21 of which were at one assisted living facility.

The Hickory Hill Retirement Community in Nottoway has experienced an outbreak of the coronavirus at its facility.

Nash said despite this, the health district is just about at the same rate of new cases it saw within the first week of April, and that new cases are continuing to decrease in an encouraging trend.

Virginia is slated to begin Phase 3 of reopening Wednesday, July 1. According to a release from Gov. Ralph Northam, in Phase 3 the commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing and teleworking, and the requirement that individuals wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals allowed in social gatherings will increase from 50 to 250 people. Gyms may open indoor areas at 75% occupancy, and recreation and entertainment venues may operate at 50% occupancy, or a maximum of 1,000 persons. Swimming pools may also expand operations to free swim in addition to indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction.

“The use of face masks as mandated by the governor and maintaining social distancing have helped get Virginia to this point of infection control, allowing us to move through Phase 2 and prepare for Phase 3,” Nash said. “Continued commitment to these mitigation measures will enable Virginia to continue on this very impressive course, and will limit the number of new cases, and decrease the number of hospitalization and deaths due to this pandemic.

“Maintained vigilance and individual discipline and social commitment and compliance will help us get through this more rapidly. Our community’s health and wellbeing is in our own hands. Our behavior will demonstrate our caring for our community and our neighbors. This will be seen in our population’s health and in our economic health as we progress through this process together.”