How do you feel about COVID-19?

Published 8:45 am Friday, December 2, 2022

Do you feel the pandemic is over? How are you handling masks and booster shots this winter? The Piedmont Health District (PHD) wants answers to these and other questions.

On Tuesday, PHD released a survey, asking people in their coverage area to weigh in.

The idea is to collect information about how area residents approach COVID-19, what they do to protect themselves and how they handle vaccinations. District officials also want to know what people think about booster shots, COVID-19 testing, wearing masks and other issues involving the pandemic. In addition, it includes questions that seek to assess feelings and opinions surrounding the pandemic, for instance, whether or not residents consider the pandemic to be over.

“This information is so useful in helping us plan for the future,” said Briauna Marcum, public relations specialist at the PHD. “Gaining knowledge of how our communities feel about different public health topics is a vital part of us helping them.”

Piedmont covers the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward. Anybody who wants to take the survey needs to do it before Friday, Dec. 23. That’s when it’ll be closed. You can find the survey online by going to https://www.surveymonkey. com/r/WRFLWWF.

The survey comes as Virginia reported its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since last April, with just a seven-day average of 895 as of Tuesday, Nov. 29. Health officials warn that those numbers could spike in the next week, if only due to Thanksgiving celebrations with large crowds.

ANOTHER WARNING ISSUED

Piedmont officials are also asking for the information as they prepare to tackle another problem in the region. Just before Thanksgiving, health district officials said the hospitalization rate this past month for flu, in the area, is the highest it’s been since 2010- 2011 for this time of year.

Piedmont District Health Director Dr. Maria Almond said the Virginia Department of Health reported a steep rise during the month, as 9% of emergency department and urgent care center visits were for influenza-like illnesses with the highest in the state recorded at 10%. Buckingham, Cumberland and the rest of the Central Virginia region recorded 8% of ER visits were linked to the flu.

This percentage is a large jump as previous years between 2018 and 2021 saw numbers over the same period in the 0.5% to 2% range.