COVID numbers

The latest surge of infections has led to staffing shortages and closed offices, such as the United Way in Danville. (Photo by Diana McFarland)

The Pittsylvania County/Danville Health District recorded its highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases for one day on Jan. 10 with 579, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The record number of cases comes during a surge in the omicron variant of the virus, thought to be more contagious than previous mutations — however, state-wide the virus appears to be trending downward, according to the VDH COVID-19 dashboard.

While the 579 were confirmed cases, that doesn't eliminate the uncertainly due to those with mild or asymptomatic illnesses or those who do not get tested, as well as loss of data due to overload, according to VDH spokesperson Linda Scarborough.

This correlates with the rest of the state, as all health districts in Virginia are considered to be in a surge, according to VDH.

The 579 cases on Jan. 10 compares with a year ago, when 446 cases were recorded in Danville and Pittsylvania County on Jan. 9, 2021 — a nearly 30% difference.

As to when the omicron variant will peak and begin to subside is yet unknown. Based on a model produced by the University of Virginia, it looks as if omicron will peak around mid-February in the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District.

State-wide, UVA models predict the variant will continue a steep rise through Jan. 23, with case rates falling just as sharply after that.

"We cannot say that PDHD has peaked yet in cases — too early to tell, but we hope we see a peaking soon.  Typically, rural areas follow such trends of urban areas by at least a week.  We will just have to follow the data, said Dr. Scott J. Spillmann, health director with the Pittsylvania-Danville and Southside Health Districts.

As of Tuesday, the curve appears to be trending downward state-wide, according the VDH.

The rate of transmission has begun to trend downward in Pittsylvania County, which was at nearly 17% Monday after being at 35% in late December. Danville is still posting a positivity rate of nearly 38%, according to VDH.

At the same time, vaccination rates in Pittsylvania County and Danville lag below those for the state, where 72.4% are fully vaccinated.

In Danville, nearly 58% of women and nearly 50% of men have received two doses as of Monday, and nearly 25% and nearly 20%, respectively, have also received a booster.

For Pittsylvania County, 53.6% of women and 46.8% of men have received two doses as of Monday, and 21.8% and 17%, respectively, have received a booster.

The latest surge has caused local hospitals to either temporarily suspend or restrict visitation.

Centra Health has seen an influx of COVID-19 patients at its four hospitals, with the largest number at Lynchburg General, said spokesperson Stephanie McBride.

On Monday, the health system reported 173 COVID-19 patients at its Lynchburg, Bedford and Southside hospitals. Of those, nearly 68% are unvaccinated and 18 patients are in the ICU, according to the system's online dashboard.

McBride said the hospitals are near capacity and the surge is putting a strain on staff.

 Who should get tested

VDH recommends COVID-19 testing for the following people:

•People who participate in activities that are higher risk for COVID-19 exposure (e.g. travel, attending large events where social distancing is not possible, or being in crowded indoor settings)

•People who have been referred for COVID-19 testing by their healthcare provider or the state/local health department.

•People who plan to travel or who have recently returned from travel with some exceptions for fully vaccinated  people

•People who are not fully vaccinated and who plan to visit people at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 

•People without symptoms of COVID-19 who have no known exposures to COVID-19 but wish to help public health officials understand how many people are infected (surveillance testing) may also be considered for testing

 Where to get a test

 •Pittsylvania County Public Library (Rapid At-Home Antigen Test)

24 Military Dr., Chatham

434-432-3271

 •PATHS Community Medical Center- Chatham

4 South Main St., Chatham

434-432-4443

 •CVS Pharmacy

13600 US Hwy. No. 29, Chatham

434-432-0951

 •Walgreens

1500 Piney Forest Road, Danville

434-836-7144

 •Walmart Neighborhood Market

211 Nor Dan Dr., Unit 1010, Danville

434-441-4253

 •GoDocs

949 Piney Forest Road, Danville

434-857-5644

 •MedExpress Danville, VA Urgent Care Center

133 Enterprise Drive, Danville

434-792-2907

 •Knox Pharmacy

10372 Martinsville Hwy, Ste C, Danville

434-423-0917

 •CVS Pharmacy

3212 Riverside Dr., Danville

434-797-2391

 •Centra – Danville Medical Center

414 Park Ave., Danville

434-857-3600

 •PATHS Community Medical Center- Danville

705 Main St., Danville

434-791-3630

•Ballou Recreation Center

760 W Main St., Danville

804-914-2607

 •Walgreens

401 S Main St., Danville

434-793-2221

 •CVS Pharmacy

817 W. Main St., Danville

434-793-0231

 •CVS Pharmacy

1425 South Boston Dr., Danville

434-791-4600

•CVS Pharmacy

12935 Booker T. Washington Hwy., Hardy

540-721-6169

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