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Facility outbreaks cause COVID-19 cases to soar in Buckingham

Buckingham County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Davis confirmed Monday, April 27, the county’s number of COVID-19 cases had grown to 45 compared to a cased count of 35 the day prior.

Davis said the sudden jump in cases could be attributed to an outbreak at specific facilities in Buckingham County, although he could not confirm which facilities were affected as of Monday afternoon.

“Buckingham has experienced and expects rapid incline in confirmed COVID-19 test results as a result of isolated case count spikes within specific facilities. More information to come,” Davis said.

Information from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) says the Piedmont Health District has five outbreaks. One is in a long-term care facility and four are in correctional facilities. Given that Prince Edward County is experiencing an outbreak in a long-term care facility, it is likely Buckingham’s outbreak is in one of county’s correctional facilities. Virginia does not identify which specific facilities are experiencing outbreaks. The state of North Carolina changed its rules Monday to identify specific facilities.

Monday’s numbers placed Buckingham back in the position as the county with the most coronavirus cases in the health district. Prince Edward’s case counts doubled last week from 19 on Wednesday morning to 41 cases Sunday, April 26, temporarily making it the leader in coronavirus cases. The county’s number of cases remained at 41 Monday.

Piedmont Regional Jail Superintendent Jim Davis said Monday the jail now has six inmates and one officer who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, with two inmates pending results.

Davis said the jail has tested eight inmates, one nurse and four officers for the virus. He added that VDH has recommended testing not be done on all employees/inmates unless they are symptomatic.

“The staff that are asymptomatic with significant exposure are to wear masks. If they become positive they are to still wear a mask,” Davis said. “Our medical department is following the CDC guidelines and does not recommend mass testing.”

He added all inmates are receiving their prescribed medication as usual.

The Woodland President and CEO Greg Cole said Monday the facility still maintains a COVID-19 free campus.

The number of COVID-19 outbreaks in the Piedmont Health District reported by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) increased from four to five between Sunday and Monday.

Cumberland County has appeared to have stabilized its case count at 10 cases.

Across Virginia, there have been 13,535 cases and 458 deaths due to the virus.

Updated statistics from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association show there are currently 1,455 hospitalized with confirmed cases of coronavirus or tests that are pending. Of those patients, 389 patients are in the ICU. That state currently has 217 of its 2,987 ventilators in use for these patients. The stats show that 1,843 patients who have been diagnosed with the virus have gotten better and been discharged from the hospital so far.

(Farmville Herald Reporters Titus Mohler and Crystal Vandegrift contributed to this story.)