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Piedmont Health District COVID cases increase by 80%

School superintendents throughout the region have made the case to move to online instruction only at the beginning of the school year, saying coronavirus cases in the area are increasing rapidly. Numbers from the Piedmont Health District show that is the case.

H. Robert Nash

Cases of the virus in the Piedmont Health District in July have increased by more than 80% over June numbers.

Across the area, school districts have been making the decision to switch from a hybrid learning model to completely virtual classes for the first nine weeks. So far, Cumberland, Charlotte, Prince Edward and Buckingham County Public Schools have all announced plans to go virtual for the beginning of the school year, citing local health data and an increase in cases as one of the primary factors behind the decision.

When asked about schools’ claims of an increase in area cases, Piedmont Health District Director Dr. H. Robert Nash said Wednesday that district-wide coronavirus cases for July to date were 438 with three days remaining in the month, up 197 from June’s district total of 241.

Last week, Nash expressed concern regarding lengthy turnaround times on COVID-19 tests, stating longer periods between testing and results was hindering contact tracing efforts. Wednesday, Nash said turnaround time on testing results has seemed to improve in the last week.

Good news for the area came later Wednesday afternoon at a 1 p.m. Centra press conference, where Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Chris Lewis announced that Centra Southside Community Hospital in Farmville had no coronavirus patients as of July 29. The announcement marked the first time in months since Southside has been without a COVID-19 patient.

Wednesday the Immigration Centers of America (ICA) Farmville detention center had 262 active coronavirus cases in its detainee population currently under isolation and monitoring.

Prince Edward County saw the largest jump in coronavirus cases in the health district this week. According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Prince Edward rose to 289 cases as of July 29, up 47 from last week.

Buckingham rose five cases this week, from 587 to 592. Cumberland increased by three cases, from 60 to 63.

Lunenburg County saw its own large jump of nine cases, going from 44 cases last week to 53 as of Wednesday. Charlotte County increased by six cases, going from 42 to 48.

Nottoway County increased 11 cases this week, from 157 July 22 to 168 July 29. Amelia County also jumped by 11, going from 60 to 71 cases.