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COVID-19 case counts in the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District are set to start dropping consistently starting this week.

Despite nine deaths in Danville in the past nine days, health officials say COVID-19 cases will drop dramatically in the following weeks.

The University of Virginia COVID-19 model shows the third spike after a decrease in COVID-19 cases in the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District took place between Oct. 4 and Oct. 11. However, the model predicts a massive drop in cases starting Monday.

The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District peaked at 177 new confirmed cases during the week ending Aug. 16. A second spike occurred the week ending Sept. 6 with 168 new confirmed cases.

The third spike ended this week with 127 cases. The model predicts steady, notable weekly declines for the next seven weeks, predicting only 60 new cases the week ending Nov. 29 and as few as 30.

The model does, however, predict a 10-20 percent increase in the transmissibility of COVID-19 once flu season is in full swing.

"Current projections suggest a downward trend in cases in the coming weeks," VDH officials said. "However, even a slight changes in behavior could alter the course of the pandemic as seasonal changes occur and Virginians spend more time indoors."

Emergency room visits for COVID-like symptoms in the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District have also decreased since the week ending Sept. 5 from 75 weekly visits to 58, according to the VDH.

The COVID-19 reproduction rate continues to remain below 1.0 statewide. Weekly incidence in Virginia is currently below the national average.

The state of Virginia has tested 2.4 million people for COVID-19, heeding a total positive testing rate of just 5.1 percent. In the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District, about 30,000 people have been tested, rendering a 7-percent positive testing rate.

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