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Nash: ‘We are doing very well’

Piedmont Health District Director Dr. H. Robert Nash gave new insight Wednesday, Sept. 23, regarding local coronavirus cases and the area’s overall handling of the pandemic. Nash said the health district is doing very well.

H. Robert Nash

Regarding Prince Edward County, Nash said district officials had identified 29 positive cases in the past 14 days between the two local colleges, as well as 20 cases of community spread not associated with any institutions of higher learning.

He added most college students who test positive for the virus relocate to their hometown while isolating. Those students who leave for their hometown are counted as positive cases in their home jurisdictions and not in Prince Edward.

Nash said despite the number of recent college student cases, both Prince Edward County and the Piedmont Health District are doing exceptionally well in regard to new cases compared to other regions.

“I just put together the numbers for our county and for the whole district and for the whole region and compared and contrasted that with the numbers and the trends we’re seeing in the state,” Nash said Wednesday morning, “and actually, our district and our county are doing great. The number of cases daily seems to be going down, and that seems to be consistent over the last seven or eight days.”

According to Nash, the health district’s running daily averages of cases have been between five to 10 new cases per day, and that trend has come down all the way to 5.2 since the last recorded daily average.

Nash said that a few weeks ago, pediatric patients made up 30% of district virus cases, but that number has decreased. He added currently, 60% to 70% of local cases occur in individuals under the age of 50.

Nash attributed much of the community’s success in battling COVID-19 to a sense of individual responsibility and civic duty toward one another.

“I think the trends we’re seeing in the last two weeks, even with the colleges back, have reinforced the message that wearing your mask, maintaining social distancing and washing your hands really is working, and compared to the rest of the state and all the other districts in the state, there’s no place I would rather live right now than Piedmont District,” Nash commented. “Seriously, we are doing really, very well.”

He added he is pleased with the amount of college students seen wearing masks as they traverse the streets of Farmville.

“All of the college students I’ve seen are wearing their masks even outside. I’m very impressed.”

When asked about local K-12 schools, Nash said he meets with the district’s emergency manager and all local superintendents each Wednesday to discuss trends in the various communities of each school division.

He said he expects a few of the district’s counties with the lowest daily case numbers may increase in-class education opportunities for students within the next month.

The district has seen between three to four COVID-19 cases among teachers in the last two weeks.

Nash highlighted flu vaccines are now available, emphasizing the importance of getting a vaccination.

“Everybody should go get their flu shot this year,” he said. “It’s going to save hospitalizations, and it’s going to save deaths.”

He also asked that community members remain patient with health officials as new data is obtained and researchers’ understanding of the virus evolves.

“I know it’s frustrating for people when VDH and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) come out with different directives and then two weeks later they absolutely reverse course, but you have to understand we’re learning too. We’re still learning after six, seven, eight months of this.”