By Callie Hietala
Internal data from the West Piedmont Health District indicates the area is on track for 1,500 new COVID-19 cases during the month of October, according to Public Information Officer Nancy Bell.
She said the district is currently averaging about 40 new cases per day, primarily among unvaccinated individuals.
Two weeks ago, the University of Virginia’s (UVa) COVID-19 model projected that the area would see a surge of nearly 600 new cases by October 31.
The actual numbers reported by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) illustrate the stark contrast between predictive models and real recorded data.
“The model may be helpful in some contexts,” Bell said, “but VDH doesn’t use it.”
UVa’s model uses vaccination trends and other data, including death rates and hospitalizations, to predict possible caseloads in Virginia.
The VDH website indicates that, in Henry County, 44 percent of the population (including 51.9 percent of the adult population) is fully vaccinated, while in Martinsville, 51.2 percent have been vaccinated, including 65.4 percent of adults. Patrick County has a lower vaccine rate, with only 36.8 percent of the population and 43.1 percent of adults having received a full course of COVID-19 vaccine.
To find a local COVID-19 vaccination site, visit vaccine.gov. To learn more about the status of COVID-19 in the state and in our communities or to view the latest UVa COVID-19 prediction model, visit vdh.virginia.gov.