COVID cases leveling off

Published 8:30 am Friday, March 25, 2022

COVID-19 cases continue to level out across the Piedmont Health District as the community emerges from the wintery fog of the pandemic and heads into spring.

Data obtained from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) shows a slight decline in coronavirus cases throughout the area from last week to this week.

From the period of Sunday, March 13, to Saturday, March 19, Lunenburg and Charlotte counties each reported five new cases of the virus. Prince Edward County saw 11 new reported cases of the virus. Buckingham reported six new cases, as did Cumberland County.

VDH data shows three new COVID-related deaths out of Lunenburg County this week as well as one new death reported out of Buckingham. No new deaths appear to have been reported for the counties of Prince Edward, Cumberland and Charlotte.

The state’s numbers also appear to be leveling out this week. On Monday, March 21, Virginia reported 414 new coronavirus cases, up slightly compared to the 350 cases reported the previous Monday. The state’s seven-day moving average in cases has remained steady at 942 cases on Monday compared to 959 the previous week.

The state did not report any new COVID-related deaths on Monday compared to 22 deaths reported seven days prior. Virginia’s seven-day moving average in fatalities sat at 29.3 on Monday compared to 36.4 the previous week.

Centra Health continues to see lowering numbers in its COVID patient census. The health system reported 27 virus patients across its Lynchburg, Bedford and Southside hospitals on Monday, March 21, with four of those patients in the ICU. Of the four ICU patients, three were actively being vented Monday.

Longwood University in Farmville was reporting one active reported COVID-19 case in its campus community Friday, March 18. Hampden-Sydney College reported two active cases with zero individuals quarantining as of Wednesday, March 16.

The Piedmont Health District continues to see lowered community COVID-19 levels per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) As of Monday, per the CDC, Buckingham and Lunenburg counties were both listed as currently having a low level of COVID-19 in the community. Prince Edward, Cumberland and Charlotte counties each ranked medium on the scale.

On Monday, Piedmont Health District Director Dr. Maria Almond spoke to the diminished threat of the coronavirus in the community while acknowledging difficulties many residents will continue to face as a result of the pandemic, from financial issues to increased opiate use in the country.

“The immediate threat of COVID has subsided for our community as a whole, for now, but there remain challenges that are less easily counted than cases of COVID,” Almond stated. “The pandemic has imprinted itself on our community, in some instances positively, as we make changes to increase time with loved ones and relish in the opportunities to travel and intersect with greater ease; in some cases negatively, as we return to items put on hold that may have piled up. There may be student debts to now pay again or a need to figure out stable housing as the clock on protections continues to tick down. Delays in preventative care may now require increased medical or dental intervention, or challenges with substances may have been exacerbated, leading to difficulties with addiction. The challenges of re-starting life as the pandemic ebbs may be numerous for many of us.”

Though the national CDC eviction moratorium ended on Aug. 26, 2021, renters in Virginia still have special protection against evictions until June 30 provided they follow certain stipulations established by the state’s Rent Relief Program. To learn more about Virginia’s Rent Relief Program, go to https://www.dhcd.virginia. gov/rmrp.

Dominion Energy resumed service disconnections for nonpayment beginning March 2. To learn more about bill payment assistance, go to https://www. dominionenergy.com/virginia/billing/energy-assistance#bill-payment-assistance and https://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/ea/.

The student loan payment pause is set to end May 1. For more information on COVID-19 relief and federal student aid, go to https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/covid-19.

“This is the moment that we need to come together, to check in and support and be present for each other,” Almond noted on Monday. “All across the Piedmont district examples of this support came early and in bounteous ways early in the pandemic. This is another such moment when there is great need. We are all busier than ever, but let’s take the time to help our neighbor.”

Almond added obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination continues to be important, particularly for any senior or those who are immunocompromised or have multiple health concerns. “We will continue to offer vaccines throughout the Piedmont district at our local health departments and until the end of June via a mobile vaccination unit.”

Vaccination rates in each county of the health district, as of Monday, were as follows:

Lunenburg: population fully vaccinated: 56%, population with booster shot: 27%

Prince Edward: population fully vaccinated: 45.7%, population with booster shot: 23.9%

Buckingham: population fully vaccinated: 54.9%, population with booster shot: 27.1%

Cumberland: population fully vaccinated: 50.3%, population with booster shot: 22.6%

Charlotte: population fully vaccinated: 54.6%, population with booster shot: 25.9%

VACCINATION EVENTS

Free and open to the public. Walk-ins welcome.

Wednesday, March 23, 3 – 6:30 p.m.

Crenshaw United Methodist Church

200 Church St., Blackstone

Friday, March 25, 8 – 11 a.m.

Cumberland CARES Food Distribution Center

1550 Anderson Highway, Cumberland

Friday, March 25, 3 – 6:30 p.m.

Journey Community Center

19210 Patrick Henry Highway,

Amelia Court House