A 30th resident of Henry County has died of COVID-19 on a day that cases in the West Piedmont Health District surged past 2,500.
This death, the third in the past two days in the county, was reported Wednesday by the Virginia Department of Health as one of nine deaths statewide.
Deaths from the virus are not posted immediately because VDH verifies cause through death certificates. VDH does not provide specifics about cases or deaths and tracks them by residence.
Henry County’s three deaths in two days represents about 14% of the total number of those reported statewide. The West Piedmont Health District now has seen 83 deaths out of its 2,513 cases and 268 hospitalizations.
This most recent victim is a white male older than 70, which is the age group for 65 of the 83 deaths. Forty victims have been 80 or older. Most have been women and white, which matches statewide trends.
There were also 37 new cases and two more hospitalizations in the district reported Wednesday.
Franklin County's cases continue to mount, growing by 16. Henry County had 13 cases and a hospitalization. Martinsville had 7 and the other hospitalization. Patrick County had only one new case.
Most of the cases (418) are people between the ages of 50 and 59, but there have been almost 300 among children 19 and younger, which is informative considering that Henry County Public Schools resumed hybrid in-classroom learning this week. Two schools have had cases reported this week, and one, Meadow View Elementary, has remained closed.
Martinsville City Public Schools said it had no plans to return in the near future, Patrick County students returned on a hybrid schedule about a month ago but has had cases emerge at two schools.
In Patrick County the West Piedmont Health District earlier this month began a no-appointment-required testing program at 8-10 a.m. Monday through Friday at Patrick County Urgent Care in Stuart.
“People are taking advantage of the drive-thru testing in Patrick County,” district spokesperson Nancy Bell said recently in an email. “While currently the testing is done at the office, Dr. [Richard] Cole is planning some weekend and evening testing ‘events.’"
In its biweekly report to the community Sovah Health said that, as of Wednesday, there were 24 patients being treated for COVID-19 at its campuses in Martinsville and Danville -- 12 at each. That's the same as the hospital had listed in its release of Sept. 30.
The report said the hospital has "adequate capacity to meet patient needs, including in critical care and intensive care."
The hospital also encourages the public about the importance this year of getting a flu shot. "While the flu vaccine won’t protect you from COVID-19, it can help prevent you from getting the flu, or help lessen your symptoms if you do," he release said.
Henry County now has more than 1,200 verified cases of COVID-19. Franklin County’s 16 new cases pushes its total to 568 reported since the beginning of the pandemic, although accounting for the district's fewest deaths (4 and hospitalizations (22).
On Sept. 1 Franklin County had 213 cases, and on Oct. 1 it had 373, which means that cases have risen by 53% since the first of the month.
The West Piedmont Health District’s updated cumulative totals since the pandemic began:
- Henry County: 1,207 cases, 131 hospitalizations, 30 deaths.
- Martinsville: 442, 63, 23.
- Patrick County: 296, 52, 26.
- Franklin County: 568, 22, 4.
By comparison, Danville has reported 1,070 cases (38 deaths), and Pittsylvania County has had 1,171 (11 deaths).
VDH reported that there have been 161,610 cases and 3,381 deaths statewide -- up by 9 from Tuesday – and some 11,628 people have been hospitalized.
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