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Buckingham adds new ambulance to cope with pandemic

As novel coronavirus cases more than triple after one week in Buckingham, the county’s Office of Emergency Management has added an additional ambulance to cope with the pandemic.

In a bi-weekly community update distributed to the public Monday morning, April 6, county officials stated the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has reported a total of six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buckingham County.

Buckingham County Administrator Rebecca Carter then published a Facebook post at approximately 3 p.m. Monday stating the county was being advised a seventh case had been confirmed. In the post, Carter stated the county was advised VDH can no longer call the county every time an additional case is diagnosed and will only provide an update in case counts once a day for the foreseeable future.

As a result, the number of cases has more than tripled since the county saw its first two patients diagnosed Monday, March 30.

County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Davis told the Board of Supervisors in an emergency meeting Tuesday, March 31, VDH warned the county should anticipate rapid community spread of the illness.

A separate release sent out April 3 stated the county’s emergency management is placing into service an additional staffed ambulance for the duration of the COVID-19 growth and peak pandemic phases.

The ambulance, staffed by basic life support personnel, is stationed at the Glenmore Rescue Squad.

“While this additional staffing is being put into service in anticipation of an excessive call volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge Buckingham citizens to only call 911 for true emergencies,” the release read.

Davis said the ambulance will be placed in service beginning April 6.

Buckingham has the most COVID-19 cases of any county in the area. As of Monday morning’s update from the VDH, Prince Edward had three cases and Cumberland County had two cases.

Statewide, there are 2,878 positively reported cases of COVID-19. Of those, 497 people have been hospitalized and 54 people have died.

The area received some good news Monday morning as a new model from the University of Washington showed the peak day for COVID-19 cases in Virginia is anticipated to be April 20. That’s earlier than expected, with a lower number of cases and deaths than in previous models.

The total deaths in Virginia are projected to be just over 1,400.