Record caseload

A new single-day caseload record was set for the county on Saturday with 43 cases reported.

Two more Halifax County residents have died of COVID-19, and an outbreak at a South Boston long-term care facility has widened to include more than 200, according to online data.

The two fatalities — women in their 80s — were revealed in Tuesday morning’s update from the Virginia Department of Health.

Beyond basic demographic data, the health department offers no other details on deaths. It’s also never clear when the deaths occurred because health authorities must first wait to receive a death certificate before entering the information into a database.

Both deaths and cases are recorded in a person’s official place of residence.

South Boston Health and Rehab — the facility formerly known as Woodview — has recorded 204 positive tests for the illness caused by the coronavirus, according online data from the Virginia Long-Term Care Task Force.

That’s up from the 145 cases a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health reported a week ago.

Of the 204, it’s not clear how many of those cases involved residents. The health department previously declined to break down the data to show how many employees may be infected.

However, across the Southside Health District, 37 new cases among health care workers were added in the two weeks. The district spans the three counties of Halifax, Mecklenburg and Brunswick.

At Berry Hill Health and Rehab Center, there were eight cases linked to an outbreak reported there Nov. 4. That number remained unchanged over the last week.

Saber, a Cleveland-based company, completed the purchase of Sentara Woodview — along with other Virginia nursing homes and facilities in Sentara Healthcare’s Life Care division — on Nov. 1.

Officials with Saber did not respond to an email from The Gazette seeking more details on the outbreak.

The Woodview outbreak marks the largest to date in the area, McKenna Luzynski, an epidemiologist with the Southside Health District, confirmed. She also noted the facility has the combined largest number of residents and staff.

As of Tuesday, Halifax County had 746 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 109 in the last week. Likely due in part to the outbreak, a new single-day caseload record was set for the county on Saturday with 43 cases reported.

While many of the cases are likely linked to the current outbreaks, Luzynski stressed last week that Halifax County was “experiencing a significant community spread” of the virus.

Tuesday’s data showed 2,125 new infections were recorded in the commonwealth, a steady increase on previous days.

With infections rapidly rising across the state, Gov. Ralph Northam announced tougher restrictions that went into effect on Monday. Among the new mandates is a 25-person limit on gatherings, excluding such areas as employment settings, churches and schools.