Officials: Surry avoids virus surge

Published 5:09 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Although the Crater Health District, which includes Surry County, is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 community transmission, Surry is not an epicenter of a surge in the virus, officials say.

As of Aug. 31, Surry reported 68 cases, five hospitalizations, and three deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health, and Surry County’s cases made up less than 3% of the cases reported in the health district.

“We have seen an increase in cases, and we’re working hard to follow-up on all confirmed cases within 24 hours of receiving a report of the confirmed case,” said Tiffany Carter, a Crater Health District spokeswoman. “We continue to increase our workforce so that we have coverage seven days a week, and on holidays.”

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Overall, the district’s population is approximately 152,000 people in eight jurisdictions: Surry, Sussex, Prince George, Dinwiddie and Greensville counties, and the cities of Petersburg, Hopewell, and Emporia.  By a wide margin, Surry has the fewest number of cases of all localities in the district, followed by Emporia with 231. Greensville had the highest number of cases, with 709 as of Aug. 31.

The Crater Health District had an overall total of 3,174 reported cases of COVID-19 as of Aug. 31, according to state health data published online.

“We want to emphasize how important it is for everyone to continue to practice good hand hygiene and wear a face covering when they leave their homes, and stay home if they are ill,” Carter said.

In an Aug. 28 announcement, health district Director Dr. Alton Hart Jr. said: “Individuals, communities, schools, businesses, health care organizations and local governments all play an important role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 This is how we all work together to save lives. We all have a duty to protect ourselves and those around us.”

Isle of Wight and Southampton counties and the towns within their borders, along with the cities of Franklin and Suffolk, are part of the Western Tidewater Health District, which had reported 2,836 cases on Aug. 31.

Isle of Wight, with about 37,000 residents, had 552 cases, 25 hospitalizations and 11 reported deaths. Statewide, Virginia had 120,594 cases and 2,580 deaths reported due to COVID-19 as of Aug. 31.

“Now that fall is almost here, we need to maintain our vigilance in following effective prevention measures to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Hart said. “In particular, we must continue to stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, and practice hand hygiene to help manage transmission of the virus.”

To mitigate the spread and severity of the coronavirus outbreak, the health department asks people to:

Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are at higher risk of serious illness, stay home if you’re sick and if you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces;
Practice social distancing by staying six feet or more away from others; and
If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.