Seven-day percent positivity rate

The seven-day percent positivity rate — a figure that calculates the number of positive cases against the number of overall tests — stands at 6.8% Sunday and has been nudging upward for a few days.

As Halifax County added 10 new reports of COVID-19 since Thursday, other areas of Southside have surged in caseloads.

As of Sunday morning, Halifax County had recorded 83 total cases of the severe respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. That’s an increase of 34 cases in a two-week period, the general range officials use to determine active cases, although the method is purely rooted in statistics as the Virginia Department of Health doesn’t disclose to the public the number of active cases or recoveries.

The online database — updated daily at about 9 a.m. — showed five Halifax patients hospitalized Sunday morning.

The nearby Pittsylvania-Danville Health District reported a surge in cases with 57 new reports added since Thursday. There, 46 patients are listed as being hospitalized and the district recorded an additional death in Friday’s report for a total of four.

Of the 306 cases in that district, three are probable, a designation defined by the health department as someone who shows the signs of the illness and had contact with someone else who tested positive.

Sunday's data

Location Cases Deaths
Halifax County 83 1
Mecklenburg County 257 29
Danville 135 2
Pittsylvania County 171 2
Henry County 350 5
Martinsville 112 1

Henry County reported 20 new cases since Thursday and now has 350 cases representing the largest amount in Southern Virginia localities.

In the Southside Health District that covers Halifax, Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties, there are no probable cases, meaning all cases have been confirmed via lab report.

Two new outbreaks were reported in the Southside Health District. One is at a correctional facility and the other is in a congregate setting. The health department didn’t respond to a request for more information on the outbreaks by press time.

The Virginia Department of Health maintains an updated webpage of active cases for state-run correctional facilities. There are no cases reported for the Halifax Correctional Unit.

General speaking, an outbreak at a congregate setting can incorporate anything from a home, business, church or daycare center. In all, there are 205 cases associated with outbreaks in the Southside district, up from 194 reported Thursday.

Since June 26, there have been five confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the South Boston Dollar General Distribution Center, said spokesperson Angela Petkovic.

The facility shut down its operations on Wednesday after learning one of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19. The distribution center at 3207 Philpott Road resumed its normal operations on Thursday.

Wednesday marked the second time in the past month the distribution center temporarily halted its operations due to an employee testing positive. The Dollar General also closed on June 26.

A weekly update by the Virginia Department of Health issued Friday reports COVID-19 activity is increasing in a number of Virginia’s health districts, and important indicators have worsened over the past two weeks. One those indicators is the seven-day percent positivity rate that calculates the number of positive cases against the number of overall tests. As of Sunday, that number was at 6.8% and has been rising for a few days.

The health department notes in Friday’s report that it’s difficult to determine what’s driving the increase in cases, but the change is widespread. The report points to other states experiencing surges in cases about four to six weeks after reopening, in addition to the time corresponding with normal summer vacation travel. It was on July 1 that Virginia entered Phase Three of reopening, a plan that loosened more restrictions imposed in March aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

Hospitalizations are also beginning to nudge upward, particularly outside of the Northern Virginia area.

In the commonwealth, there were 70,670 cases of COVID-19 reported Sunday. That’s an increase of 2,682 since Thursday’s report.