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Rise in COVID cases continues

Counties in the Piedmont Health District are continuing to see sharp increases in cases of COVID-19 each week.

The most notable local increase in coronavirus cases this week came from Lunenburg County. Lunenburg, which according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) last week saw a 22-case rise in coronavirus cases, was up 88 cases Monday for a cumulative total of 443.

Charlotte County, which rose 43 cases last week, saw a 26-case increase from Jan. 4 to Jan. 11.

Prince Edward County increased 80 cases from the week of Monday, Jan. 4, to Monday, Jan. 11, for a cumulative total of 1,225 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

This week marks the second week in a row Prince Edward has seen an 80-case increase.

Buckingham County, which was up a staggering 152 cases last week, rose 87 cases this week for a cumulative total of 1,515.

Cumberland County, which saw a 21-case increase last week, rose 23 cases as of Jan. 11, for a total of 231 cases.

The commonwealth has consistently reported new record numbers of COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks, and this week was no exception.

According to VDH, Virginia reached a new record of daily reported cases Saturday, Jan. 9, of 5,798 COVID-19 cases.

Virginia also reached a new record for its seven-day moving average of COVID cases at 5,013 as of Sunday, Jan. 10.

Local colleges also reported new coronavirus cases this week as many students headed back to school.

Longwood University on Monday was reporting 17 active COVID-19 cases in its campus community. Since Jan. 4, a total of 12 students and four staff at Longwood have tested positive for the virus. Eight students and three staff were listed on the Longwood dashboard as having self-reported their diagnoses.

Thursday, Jan. 7, Hampden-Sydney was reporting 10 active cases of the virus out of its campus community with 31 individuals quarantining.

On Monday the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) was reporting 98 active cases among inmates at Buckingham Correctional Center (BKCC) in Buckingham County, with two inmates hospitalized due to the virus. 19 staff at BKCC were actively diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Jan. 11.

Dillwyn Correctional Center (DCC), also in Buckingham, had one active inmate case and four active staff cases as of Monday.

Lunenburg Correctional Center (LCC) in Lunenburg County was reporting 36 active offender cases with one inmate being hospitalized Monday. Three active staff cases were listed on the dashboard as of Monday.

COVID-19 vaccinations have progressed this week throughout the health district. The only county which did not increase its number of vaccinations this week was Prince Edward.

In Prince Edward, 128 residents received their vaccine this week according to VDH, down from 166 vaccines distributed last week. A total of 335 county residents have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

In Charlotte County 74 citizens were vaccinated as of Monday, up from 60 last week, for a total of 145.

Seventy-three Lunenburg residents were vaccinated this week compared to 15 vaccinations the week prior. A total of 99 people from Lunenburg have been vaccinated in total.

In Buckingham 127 residents were vaccinated this week, up from 35 last week, for a cumulative total of 180.

Cumberland saw 37 new vaccinations this week, up from 20 last week, for a total of 62.

This week VDH released further information regarding vaccine rollout outlining which groups will be eligible to receive a vaccine in the coming phases of distribution.

The Piedmont Health District is currently in phase 1a of distribution to include health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.

Friday, Jan. 8, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director and COVID-19 expert Dr. Anthony Fauci participated as a special guest speaker of the Virginia-based Facts and Faith Fridays weekly webinar. Also joining the webinar was Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

During Friday’s webinar, Fauci acknowledged the U.S. is the worst-hit country in the world in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he believes the pandemic could be “completely crushed” by the end of 2021 if the country is able to inoculate approximately 75-80% of citizens.