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County COVID cases double

While COVID-19 cases appear to be beginning to stabilize across the commonwealth, cases are continuing to rise in the Piedmont Health District, especially in Prince Edward County.

From Monday, Sept. 13, to the following Monday, Sept. 20, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 119 new COVID-19 cases in Prince Edward. That’s more than double the 54 cases seen across the week prior. Prince Edward County also saw one new VDH-reported virus death this week.

Buckingham County saw 46 new cases of the virus this week, up from 39 cases across last week.

Cumberland County rose 25 cases this week compared to 18 new cases the week prior. Cumberland also reported one new COVID-related death this week.

Charlotte County was up 38 cases between Sept. 13 and Sept. 20 compared to 32 new cases the previous week. Lunenburg saw 22 new cases of the virus this week, a decrease from the 28 cases seen the week prior.

VDH was reporting 2,377 new daily reported cases across the commonwealth Monday, Sept. 20, up slightly from 2,303 cases seven days earlier. The state’s seven-day moving average of virus cases sat at 3,580 on Monday, up from 3,453. While state cases have increased slightly over the last several days, the state has appeared to be slowly stabilizing in cases since the peak of the most recent wave occurred at 4,479 cases Sept. 10.

The local health care system continues to experience the brunt of the delta variant wave. As of Monday, Sept. 20, Centra Health was reporting 130 COVID-19 cases across Lynchburg General and Centra Southside Community Hospital in Farmville, a 24-case increase from last month.

Of Centra’s 130 COVID-19 patients, 103 reside on COVID-dedicated hospital floors and 27 are in the COVID ICU in Lynchburg. Eighteen of those 27 patients are actively being ventilated.

Twenty-seven of Centra’s 130 patients, as of Monday, were fully vaccinated, including three fully vaccinated patients in the ICU. The remaining 103 patients, including 24 in the ICU, were unvaccinated.

Longwood University was reporting 14 active coronavirus cases among students and staff on Monday. The school has experienced 63 cumulative virus cases since Aug. 15.

On Monday, Hampden-Sydney College was reporting three active cases of the virus in its campus community, including two total student cases and one total employee case this semester. Eleven members of the campus community were quarantining as of Monday.

In a Monday, Sept. 20, interview, Acting Piedmont Health District Director Dr. Sulola Adekoya highlighted the health district is continuing to utilize its three-pronged approach — testing, vaccination and tracing — in order to mitigate further spread of the virus in the area.

The Piedmont Health District will host a mass COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Prince Edward Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA) Gymnasium in Farmville on Friday, Sept. 24, from noon – 4 p.m. Another clinic, Adekoya noted, will occur in Charlotte next week.

The health district will continue to offer free drive-thru COVID-19 screening and testing services at the PEFYA gym on Wednesdays through Oct. 12 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. or until supplies run out.

Adekoya said the health district is currently working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for final guidance on booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine. More information on third-round COVID vaccines is expected in the future.

VDH, she added, is now responsible for the distribution of monoclonal antibodies shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of the virus. VDH now distributes these antibodies to hospitals and health care providers.

Adekoya emphasized again this week that the area’s biggest weapon in the fight against the virus is the vaccine.

“You have a tool,” she said. “Vaccination is effective.”

As of Monday, Sept. 20, the percentage of fully vaccinated people in each county of the health district was as follows:

Prince Edward: 38%

Buckingham: 43.9%

Cumberland: 40.9%

Charlotte: 43.3%

Lunenburg: 44.1%