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Virus cases on the rise in central Virginia

As COVID-19 cases increase in central Virginia, officials are growing excited over exceptional progress in the race to produce a coronavirus vaccine.

Ralph Northam

At a Tuesday, Nov. 10, press conference, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam spoke to some concerning trends seen in the commonwealth and surrounding states, stating the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) was reporting 1,435 new cases and 13 newly reported deaths as a result of the virus Tuesday.

“We’re seeing a rise in cases and in percent positivity, which is now 6.2(%) statewide,” Northam said. He added hospitalizations are also on the rise in Virginia.

Northam said Tuesday that the central region of Virginia is seeing a steady increase in coronavirus cases.

“We all need to step up our vigilance and our precautions, especially as we head toward the Thanksgiving holiday,” he advised.

Northam referenced some positive news heard around the country Tuesday morning after drug company Pfizer announced its frontrunner coronavirus vaccine developed in partnership with the German drugmaker BioNTech appeared in an early analysis of drug trials to be 90% effective at preventing the virus. 

“When a vaccine is ready, one that is safe and effective, we will be ready too in Virginia,” he said.

Locally, virus case numbers continue to increase in the Piedmont Health District. Wednesday morning, Nov. 11, VDH was reporting 24 new cases of the coronavirus in Prince Edward County since last Wednesday, Nov. 4, bringing the county’s cumulative case total to 811.

Buckingham County, which is currently experiencing another large novel coronavirus outbreak at the Buckingham Correctional Center, saw 41 new cases this week for a total of 814 since the start of the pandemic. County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Davis said Tuesday that those numbers are expected to continue to rise as more point prevalence testing is done at both of the county’s prisons.

Cumberland rose eight cases this week for a cumulative total of 136 COVID-19 cases. Charlotte rose 23 cases in one week, bringing the county’s total to 249. Lunenburg rose four cases for a total of 159.

Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College both saw an increase in their number of COVID-19 cases after numbers plummeted over the last two weeks.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 11, Longwood University had seven active cases of the virus in its campus community, with 114 total cumulative cases.

Hampden-Sydney College was listed Wednesday as having six active cases of the virus with a cumulative total of 99 student and four employee cases. Nine individuals from the college were quarantining Wednesday.