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Area virus case rates plummeting

Although area numbers of coronavirus cases continue to climb with Lunenburg County now listed as having 28 cases as of Tuesday, there is good news in the numbers according to Piedmont Health District Director Dr. H. Robert Nash.

Since May 24, the commonwealth’s rate of newly-reported cases have dropped by 50% each week.

“In our region, which is from the North Carolina border up to a county and a half above and including Richmond, our seven-day rolling average is about four cases a day,” Nash said of last week’s numbers.

Nash said he was very excited about the daily case numbers, which he described are “dropping like flies.” This despite several states including North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida setting new daily records for coronavirus cases diagnosed.

“Nobody’s numbers agree,” Nash said. “Our district numbers come from our district case investigations, so we know a name and an address of every person that’s in our spreadsheet, and that spreadsheet is run by the district epidemiologist only. She runs every single entry, and I know that every single one is correct. There are no duplications. There are no deletions.”

Nash highlighted that the discrepancies in numbers hide a very encouraging statistic —

He added that the numbers he views as most important include hospitalization and death data, which monitor the most severe cases. He said the commonwealth’s hospitalization and death figures are doing quite well compared to other states.

Lunenburg is listed as having only three hospitalizations and no deaths during the course of the pandemic.

It remains clear that the numbers vary based on different sources, but Nash expressed that the figures are pointing in a good direction for Virginia and the Piedmont Health District.

One area that has seen a significant trackable increase in the area has been the Farmville ICE facility which has seen cases increase from 3 to 47 in a week.

An ICE spokesperson stated Monday that during the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE has taken steps to protect detainees in its custody and promote social distancing whenever possible. This has resulted in the transfer of detainees from facilities with larger detention populations to facilities with fewer detainees. Prior to transport, the agency conducts temperature checks and medically screens detainees for COVID-19 symptoms.

“On June 2, 74 detainees were transferred to ICA Farmville Detention Center in Farmville, Virginia, from detention centers in Arizona and Florida,” the spokesperson said. “As required by ICE’s coronavirus mitigation policies, all newly transferred detainees were quarantined and did not enter general population. On June 11, three detainees tested positive for coronavirus, and ICE Farmville medical staff conducted precautionary tests of all 74 detainees, of which 47 have tested positive as of June 22.”

Things are reportedly going much better at the Piedmont Regional Jail (PRJ).

PRJ Superintendent Jim Davis affirmed Monday the Farmville-based jail has been virus-free since June 1. PRJ had experienced a total of eight positive offenders and nine positive staff during the pandemic.

“Tomorrow the Virginia National Guard will be in to test all inmates and staff who desire to be tested, to ensure we have no hidden cases,” he said.

Overall, Virginia has positively diagnosed 58,994 cases of the coronavirus with 5,913 hospitalizations and 1,645 deaths.