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Cases rise, CCPS return to virtual

Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Charlotte County over the past week, School Superintendent Robbie Mason announced Thursday, Dec. 31, that Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS) would begin the second semester in a fully remote manner beginning Wednesday, Jan. 6.

Before Mason’s announcement, CCPS had been operating in a hybrid manner.

Robbie Mason

Mason said another factor in his decision to revert back to an all virtual format was due to several of our school employees that been required to quarantine.

“The current plan is for in-person hybrid instruction to resume Tuesday, Jan. 19,” Mason said. “I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause, but we need to do our best to ensure the safety of our students and staff during these difficult times.”

On Monday, Jan. 4, the Virginia Department of Health reported 43 new cases of COVID-19 in the county in one week, bringing the total to 400 positive patients since the pandemic began in March.

Six individuals in the county have died as a result of the virus.

Piedmont Health District Director Dr. Robert Nash said on Monday that all seven counties across the health district are seeing widespread community spread. “This is the beginning of the Christmas surge”, Nash said.

Rumors spread over the weekend that the VCU Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill had begun “full diversion” from its emergency department, with some speculating the hospital was near full bed capacity and sending patients elsewhere.

VCU officials said Monday that while the hospital had been on full and partial diversion over the last several weeks, diversion would not mean the hospital would completely stop accepting new patients in an emergency.

“We have been on diversion, sometimes full and sometimes partial, at different times in the past few weeks, typically because of census numbers (number of total patients in the hospital) and staffing,” Ken Kurz, director of marketing and development at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, said Monday. “Being on diversion is a somewhat frequent occurrence at hospitals across the country related to census and staffing, especially during the winter months. Common reasons for a partial diversion are pieces of equipment, like a CT or MRI, being out of service for a repair or scheduled maintenance.”

(Gazette reporter Alexa Massey contributed to this article.)