At least 12 people have died in Central Virginia from the novel coronavirus and the daily increase in cases is still building toward a hoped-for plateau.
The Thomas Jefferson Health District reported 245 cases of the virus and 12 deaths on Wednesday.
The district includes Charlottesville and Albemarle, Nelson, Greene, Fluvanna and Louisa counties. Including Buckingham and Madison counties, the Central Virginia area has 284 confirmed cases of the virus.
Our Lady of Peace in Albemarle County is the third reported outbreak in the area, joining the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail and Envoy at the Village in Fluvanna County. The Virginia Department of Health defines an “outbreak” as two or more lab-confirmed cases connected by time, space and place.
It’s unclear how many people at Our Lady of Peace have tested positive since families were notified of three residents and two employees on Tuesday.
Fluvanna led in cases locally on Wednesday with 77, followed by Albemarle County at 75, Charlottesville with 42, Louisa County with 36, Greene County with 8 and Louisa County with 7.
The state health department is lagging behind local reporting and only lists 10 deaths in the area, so it’s unclear where the additional two deaths occurred.
As of Wednesday, the state reported four deaths in Fluvanna, three Albemarle County and two in Charlottesville.
Although the state only lists 69 cases and four deaths in Fluvanna, that is 7th in cases and 6th in deaths per 100,000 among Virginia’s 133 localities.
It’s unclear how many residents or staff at Envoy have tested positive. A message left at the facility was returned by a corporate spokeswoman for Consulate Health Care, which provided a statement that did not include any new information.
To further investigate the impact of the Envoy outbreak, the health district is offering a free drive-thru testing clinic in the county on Saturday.
People who are exhibiting symptoms, such as fever, cough, runny nose or a sore throat, will be able to get a test. People who live with someone who works at the Envoy will also be able to get a test.
To get a test, residents must schedule an appointment by noon Friday by calling (434) 972-6261. The tests will occur at Central Elementary School in Palmyra.
Health district spokeswoman Kathryn Goodman noted that local cases are increasing at a slower rate, but it’s too soon to know if that’s a fluctuation or an effective result of social distancing.
“I think our numbers are small every day and that’s good,” she said. “That’s a good trajectory for flattening the curve.”