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COVID cases soaring

The rate of COVID-19 infections continues to soar across the area this week.

The number of virus cases in counties in the Piedmont Health District have been rising dramatically for some time. From Monday, Aug. 23, to Monday, Aug. 30, The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported a total of 22 new COVID-19 cases in Lunenburg for a cumulative total of 872 since the pandemic began.

Prince Edward County saw 80 new COVID-19 cases in the last week alone. The county has been the source of 2,390 reported cases to date.

In Buckingham County, 30 new COVID-19 cases popped up this week, bringing the county’s total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 2,311.

Cumberland County jumped 18 cases this week for a total of 582 cases since the pandemic began. Charlotte County surged to 41 new virus cases this week for a total of 992.

State numbers have also remained on the rise. On Monday, Aug. 30, VDH reported a daily case total of 2,291 for Virginia, up from 1,975 new cases on the previous Monday. The state’s seven-day moving average sat at 3,113 on Monday, up from 2,490 the week before.

Acting Piedmont Health District Director Dr. Sulola Adekoya said Monday the area is continuing to see notable community spread due to the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus, adding the new school year is also contributing to case numbers.

“We know that with schools back in session, we’ve had several increases in cases across various schools.”

Both Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College have continued their COVID-19 dashboards into the new semester, keeping track of the virus’ movement throughout the campus community.

Between Aug. 15 and the dashboard’s last update Aug. 29, Longwood University reported a total of 16 cases on its campus, 13 of which were students and two of which were faculty or staff. As of Monday, Longwood had nine active cases.

As of its last dashboard update Aug. 27, Hampden-Sydney College was reporting zero cumulative cases with four individuals actively quarantining.

Adekoya noted increasing staffing is a high priority for the health district as investigators work to perform the essential duties of contact tracing during this recent wave of COVID-19 cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 176,742 new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. on Friday, Aug. 27, alone, a number not seen since January following the peak of the virus in the country.

Vaccination rates continue to creep upward throughout Piedmont. As of Monday, Aug. 30, the percentage of fully vaccinated people in each county was as follows:

Lunenburg: 42.9%

Prince Edward – 36.8%

Buckingham – 42.6%

Cumberland – 39.8%

Charlotte – 41.4%