For the third time this week, a COVID-19 death was added for the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District.
A Danville woman 80 or older is the latest to die from the novel coronavirus, Thursday morning’s data from the Virginia Department of Health show. This comes after two fatalities from Pittsylvania County were added to the record books this week to bring the district’s total to 228 lives lost to the novel coronavirus.
Beyond minor demographic details, very little is known when someone dies from the virus. The date of death also remains a mystery and likely happened at least a few weeks earlier.
Health department officials verify COVID-19 caused a fatality after receiving the official death certificate. That process in itself can take weeks and is always subject to change.
It’s not uncommon for deaths to be shuffled from locality to locality after a review process determines an address was incorrectly listed. For example, recently the district had subtractions after officials noted a long-term care facility was provided as a person’s home instead of the actual address outside the region.
In addition to mounting deaths, the average number of daily cases are on the rise locally. Pittsylvania County is adding about six new cases a day, up from only two new daily infections two weeks ago. Danville is adding about two new caseloads daily.
The biggest statistical jump is in the positivity, especially in Pittsylvania County. As of Thursday morning, the 7-day positivity rate was 21.99% in Pittsylvania County, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Simply put, that means 1 in 5 people who are tested for COVID-19 yield a positive result.
The rate — a measure of positive results against all tests given — is used as a barometer of sorts for health officials to determine the state of the pandemic at a local level. Previously in the pandemic, a rising positivity signaled an impending spike in cases.
The CDC believes any figure about 5% indicates the virus is running uncontrolled in a community. Pittsylvania County ranks in the highest risk category for community spread based on the federal authority’s 4-tier system.
Danville’s rate has risen to 8.76%, the CDC reports. But, that’s enough to move Danville into a substantial COVID-19 risk rating, the second-highest level the CDC has in place.
Cases across Virginia and the nation are been on the upswing, a problem blamed on a convergence of two factors: a highly transmissible delta variant and a large number of people still unvaccinated. Across the local health district, less than have of the adult population are fully vaccinated. When children are factored into the equation, the vaccine rates are even more dismal.