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County sees no new cases of COVID this past week

As COVID numbers remain low throughout most of the health district, officials warn keeping those numbers low and protecting yourself against the new Delta variant of the virus means getting vaccinated.

Most counties in the Piedmont Health District saw one or even zero cases of COVID-19 this week as reported through the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

Between last Monday, June 21, and this Monday, June 28, Prince Edward, Charlotte and Lunenburg counties saw zero new cases of the virus. Buckingham County saw only one new case of COVID-19, and Cumberland County saw a slight jump of five new cases.

Officials say while mitigation efforts and vaccine rollouts have dramatically reduced the number of cases reported in the area, the Delta variant of COVID-19, said to be 40-60% more transmissible than the current leading variant, could pose a problem for unvaccinated residents.

Acting Piedmont Health District Director Dr. Sulola Adekoya noted Monday there have been 41 cases of the Delta variant reported in Virginia thus far. While the variant has not yet been spotted in the Piedmont Health District, it is predicted to become the dominant variant in Virginia and the U.S.

Adekoya said the Delta variant is easily transmitted between those who have not yet been vaccinated. Additionally, the variant is considered to be more virulent. Current COVID-19 vaccines appear to be effective against the Delta variant, and those who have been vaccinated but do test positive for the variant typically report very mild infections.

However, unvaccinated residents are vulnerable to harsher symptoms should they contract it.

Locally, vaccine rates are slowly increasing.

According to VDH, 50.5% of Virginia’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Local percentages of fully-vaccinated residents are as follows:

Prince Edward – 32.6%

Buckingham – 37.5%

Cumberland – 35.8%

Charlotte – 36.6%

Lunenburg – 37.6%

Adekoya emphasized there are pharmacies across Prince Edward and the health district providing any of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available, many of which operate on weekends.

There continues to be a fixed vaccine clinic every Wednesday at the PEFYA Gym located at 2750 Layne Street in Farmville. The clinic operates from 1 to 6 p.m. and offers the Pfizer vaccine which is available to residents 12 and up. Adekoya said walk-ins are encouraged, and the clinic hardly ever has a wait. Residents can often be in and out in 30 minutes or less.

The Piedmont Health District, in coordination with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), announced recently it will partner with localities to host a Community Information Team starting June 22 to support COVID-19 vaccine outreach efforts throughout the health district.

Outreach includes door-to-door canvassing in residential neighborhoods and at local businesses in Buckingham and Prince Edward counties. Team members provide health education, information about upcoming vaccine clinics and registration opportunities for specific clinics.

Adekoya highlighted residents who are hesitant to get the vaccine should reach out to their health care provider or a member of the health department to learn more about the vaccine and how to get immunized.

She stressed officials feel the vaccine is the way out of the pandemic, and getting vaccinated means a return back to a normal life and a summer filled with safe fun.