• 64°

Vaccination efforts continue

As areas in the U.S. are beginning to see rises in COVID-19 cases, the Piedmont Health District is celebrating several successful vaccination events as the community continues to up its immunity to the virus.

The state saw a bump in its virus cases last week shortly before Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced 83% of adults in the commonwealth have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Most counties in the Piedmont Health District, with the exception of Lunenburg and Amelia, saw decreases in cases this week.

According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) from Monday, Nov. 8, to Monday, Nov. 15, Lunenburg reported a large increase at 55 cases over the seven-day period.

Prince Edward County saw 11 new cases of the virus, Buckingham reported 13 COVID-19 cases over the last week, Cumberland saw four new cases, and Charlotte County saw 22 new cases between Nov. 8 and Nov. 15.

The above counties reported no new COVID-related deaths over the last week.

State cases have been fluctuating in recent days. On Nov. 15, Virginia reported 871 new virus cases, down from 913 during last Monday’s bump. However, the state’s seven-day moving average of cases was up slightly from 1,276 Nov. 8 to 1,305 Nov. 15.

The number of individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 has continued to drop locally. On Monday, Nov. 15, Centra Health was reporting 28 total virus patients at its Lynchburg General and Centra Southside Community Hospital locations. The hospital had four patients in its ICU, two of which were ventilated. Three of the 28 patients were fully vaccinated, while the remaining 25 were unvaccinated.

Longwood University was reporting zero active cases in its campus community as of Nov. 14. Hampden-Sydney College had two active cases and one individual in quarantine as of Nov. 12.

Health officials have been hard at work since children ages 5-11 became eligible for the vaccine earlier this month.

On Monday, Piedmont Health District Director Dr. Maria Almond noted vaccine clinics held in the near future will have a large focus on boosters and child vaccine rollout.

Almond said just last week, around 350 doses of the vaccine were administered in Prince Edward County alone, and 131 local children ages 5-11 received their first shot of the Pfizer child vaccine since it became available Nov. 4.

Almond said it’s been heartwarming to share in the vaccination efforts with community partners, from county officials, frontline responders, colleges and schools, to pharmacists, nonprofits and businesses.

“We saw that partnership firsthand on Friday night when Farmville Family Pharmacy, Longwood Nursing and the Piedmont Health District combined forces to launch a vaccination clinic,” she said. “It was not just a vaccination event, but a communal moment. It was healing to hear the laughter and see the smiling eyes of so many.”

Almond said the health district is highly focused on ensuring every single person who would like a vaccine or a booster who is eligible has the opportunity to get inoculated.

“Lack of access should never be the reason for someone to remain unvaccinated,” she emphasized.

“In many areas of the US, COVID-19 cases are rising again,” Almond said.  “This virus is highly contagious. To protect yourself and those who are most vulnerable — including the front line — I ask those who can to seek vaccination. These vaccinations — all of them — are safe and significantly effective against severe disease.  If you have questions or concerns, please speak with a trusted healthcare provider.”

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

Lunenburg: population fully vaccinated: 48.2%, population with booster shot: 5.7%

Prince Edward: population fully vaccinated: 41.4%, population with booster shot: 8.1%

Buckingham: population fully vaccinated: 48.5%, population with booster shot: 6.3%

Cumberland: population fully vaccinated: 44.3%, population with booster shot: 6.1%

Charlotte: population fully vaccinated: 47.6%, population with booster shot: 7.6%

Below is a list of testing and vaccination opportunities in the coming weeks:

Tuesday, Nov. 16 — Pop-up clinic at Drakes Branch Municipal Building (4800 Drakes Main Street) from 2 – 5 p.m.

Vaccines administered by Charlotte Drug

Tuesday, Nov. 16 — Vaccination clinic at Heart of VA Free Clinic in Farmville from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 17 — Free COVID-19 testing at Prince Edward Farmville Youth Association from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

PCR testing results returned in 2-3 days

Wednesday, Dec. 1 — Pop-up clinic at Crewe Volunteer Fire Department (1105 W Virginia Ave.) from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Vaccines administered by Smith’s Pharmacy