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COVID cases are on downward trend; vaccinations increase

COVID-19 cases in Virginia are experiencing a noticeable downward trend with local counties seeing an official decline in coronavirus cases.

According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 dashboard, the commonwealth experienced dramatic lows in COVID-19 cases this week not seen since the beginning of December.

Sunday, Jan. 31, the commonwealth reported 2,558 new daily cases of the virus. Monday, Feb. 1, numbers were similar at 2,861 daily cases. That’s down dramatically from last Monday’s 6,172 cases.

To find similar numbers, one would have to look back to Dec. 4, 2020, when daily COVID numbers in Virginia sat at 2,419.

The state’s seven-day moving average has dropped as well. Last Monday, Jan. 25, Virginia averaged 4,581 COVID-19 cases over the course of a week. This Monday’s seven-day moving average, according to the VDH, was 4,146.

The numbers also equate to an official downtrend in coronavirus cases for the local counties of Prince Edward, Buckingham, Cumberland, Charlotte and Lunenburg. For cases to be declared by VDH as “decreasing,” pandemic metrics must show the average number of cases in a county have decreased for 14 days straight.

The counties listed above, all of which are located in the Piedmont Health District, had all experienced a 19-day decrease in COVID-19 cases as of Feb. 1.

On Monday, VDH listed Prince Edward as having experienced 172 new coronavirus cases over the last seven days for a cumulative total of 1,734 cases.

Buckingham County was up 144 cases in the week for a total of 1,866 cases since the start of the pandemic. Cumberland County rose 21 cases for a total of 327. Charlotte County was up 44 cases for a total of 633. Lunenburg rose 22 cases for a total of 571.

Although numbers are looking encouraging, facility outbreaks continued this week.

On Monday, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) was reporting 111 active cases among staff at the Buckingham Correctional Center (BKCC) in Buckingham County, with one offender hospitalized as a result of the virus. 13 BKCC staff were actively COVID-positive as of Monday.

Dillwyn Correctional Center (DCC), also in Buckingham, had seven COVID-positive inmates and nine positive staff as of Feb. 1.

On Monday, Piedmont Regional Jail (PRJ) in Farmville, according to PRJ Administrator Jerry Townsend, was continuing to experience an outbreak of its own.

Townsend said as of Monday the jail had 18 offenders (six male and 12 female) who were being isolated after testing positive for the coronavirus.

There were also 10 symptomatic offenders (six male and four female) actively being isolated.

Townsend said on Monday the jail had six employees who had tested positive, adding four were scheduled to return to work by Feb. 5.

He added PRJ currently has one offender being hospitalized for COVID-19 who is reportedly in stable condition.

The jail, Townsend said, will remain in lockdown until positivity levels have declined enough for modified offender movement.

The Woodland in Farmville was reporting nine asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and four recovered individuals from its Holly Manor and Moore Center skilled nursing facilities on Monday.

Longwood University was reporting increasing numbers of COVID-positive students and staff this week. As of Monday morning, the university was dealing with 64 active cases in its campus community.

Hampden-Sydney College was reporting 22 cases in its campus community Monday with 50 individuals quarantining.

Vaccination rates in the Piedmont Health District continued to slowly climb this week.

On Monday, VDH was reporting 1,691 Prince Edward residents had been vaccinated as of Feb. 1, with 233 individuals fully vaccinated after receiving their second dose, for a total of 7.4% of the county’s total population at least partially vaccinated.

Approximately 6.7% of Buckingham County residents had been vaccinated as of Monday. In Buckingham, 1142 residents had received at least one shot with 103 citizens fully inoculated. Cumberland County, according to the VDH, had 355 vaccinated residents as of Feb. 1, 27 of which had received both doses. The county has had 3.6% of its population vaccinated.

In Charlotte, 791 residents, or 6.6% of the population, were vaccinated as of Monday afternoon. Approximately 104 Charlotte citizens have received both doses of their COVID-19 shot.

And 708 Lunenburg residents, or 5.8%, have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The number of Lunenburg residents who have received both doses of the vaccine sat at 78.