The death from COVID-19 of a Danville woman in her 80s was revealed Tuesday morning, the same day the local health district reached a milestone of more than 25,000 residents vaccinated against the virus.
The latest fatality brings the toll to 211 in the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District for the pandemic now in its second year. The Virginia Department of Health updates information daily based on data available by 5 p.m. the previous day.
The health department also cautions data are preliminary and could change in reviews. That has happened when cases and deaths were reclassified to another locality.
It’s often a long and complex process to add a fatality to the statewide database. Health officials await for a death certificate to verify COVID-19 contributed to a person’s death. That procedure could take weeks or longer.
Changes may occur when family members note a person’s place of residence was listed incorrectly.
The Danville death was one of 30 others in the state Tuesday. So far, 10,625 Virginians have lost their lives to the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Nearly 25% of the population of Danville and Pittsylvania County is fully vaccinated, and the number of residents surpassed the 25,000 mark Tuesday morning. That matches the percentage across the state of people who have received either two doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or the one-dose Johnson and Johnson version before it was temporarily paused last week after rare blood clots were reported in a few women.
That pause has somewhat slowed local efforts because it was the vaccine used in satellite clinics around the region. Only 33% of those in the local health district have received at least one dose of a vaccine, far below the 40% level across Virginia.
On Tuesday, the local health district added 14 new infections to bring the 7-day rolling average to 10. That number has held steady since the start of April.
Across the state, the daily average dipped to 1,348, marking the lowest level since early March. Still, Virginia has yet to fall below infection rates witnessed in November, before caseloads started to climb.
The latest forecast by the University of Virginia shows cases rising into the spring and summer. In the worst-case scenario, the infection rate would top the January surge numbers blamed by health officials on holiday gatherings.
The positivity rate for the local district nudged upward Tuesday, to 6.6%. That figure — a calculation of positive results against all COVID-19 tests — is used by health officials to gauge community spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention likes to see the figure under 5% to show the virus is under control in a community.
On Tuesday morning, the CDC classified both Danville and Pittsylvania County as having a substantial risk of COVID-19 spread. That’s the second-highest level on a 4-tier system the center uses to compare the state of the pandemic across the nation.