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Buckingham warned of rapid community spread of virus within 72 hours

In an emergency Buckingham County Board of Supervisors meeting held 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Davis informed the board that officials had been notified Buckingham would likely see rapid community spread of the COVID-19 virus within 72 hours.

Davis explained to the supervisors that the county had been notified of its first confirmed novel coronavirus case by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) at 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 30. News of a second case in the county came at 4 p.m. Monday evening.

“The health department contact stated that due to the results of their investigations and to both of the Buckingham cases, it is likely that Buckingham will experience rapid community spread in comparison to the other localities affected,” Davis said.

Davis and County Administrator Rebecca Carter emphasized that the county was told by VDH to expect a rapid increase in cases within 72 hours of the diagnoses.

Davis said the county plans to distribute updates to the public twice weekly, Monday and Thursday mornings, to update residents on case counts and the county’s efforts to combat spread.

“While we were officially advised of the two positive cases, we are not advised about all of the people who are in the process of being tested, awaiting results,” Davis warned. “There are without a doubt quite a few individuals in this county who are being tested actively.”

Davis said information provided by VDH regarding their investigation into the confirmed cases revealed both patients have come into contact with several people in the county since contracting the virus.

“In large group settings,” added Carter. “They used the grocery stores, they used the dollar stores.”

Davis noted that the two patients are in the same family and both participated in family gatherings after becoming infected.

Davis had initially been brought before the board at the meeting to discuss recommendations to implement a policy direction allowing for possible alterations to supervisor and other local government employee schedules to ensure operation of county government during the state of emergency. It was advised that adopting certain shifts for various supervisors and only permitting certain individuals to be in the administration complex at certain times would assure the safety and well-being of both supervisors and local government operations.

The board spent the duration of the meeting sitting at various tables in the administration complex, at least six feet apart.

District 1 Supervisor Bobby Jones was not present at the meeting and did not participate in voting. All other board members present voted in favor of allowing for the implementation of policy direction.

The current number of coronavirus cases, according to VDH’s website, sat at 1,484 Wednesday morning out of a total 15,344 individuals tested. The state at the time was listed as having 208 hospitalizations due to the virus and 34 deaths.

“Please, practice your social distancing, ”District 2 Supervisor Donnie Bryan urged at the end of the meeting. “Think about other people.”