By Jeff Poole
New COVID-19 case counts continue to escalate in Orange County with nearly 100 reported in the last week alone.
According to data from the Virginia Department of Health, Orange County had reported 204 cases in August, with 98 since last Monday. Orange County’s seven-day average of newly reported cases was 14, as of Monday afternoon.
August’s case count includes the highest single-day total (19) since late February (24), but still well below the single-day high (48) in mid-January.
The current trend this month suggests Orange County could see its highest monthly case count since February (325). From January through June, monthly case counts had declined steadily, dropping from 572 all the way down to 18. In July, 49 local cases were reported, with only one new hospitalization. In August, five more hospitalizations have been reported and one death—bringing Orange County’s total to 40 in the past 17 months since data began to be recorded.
Based on surging case counts, the department of health lists Orange County (and much of Virginia) as a “high” transmission area. In the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, only Madison County falls below that benchmark, though its transmission rate is listed as “substantial.”
Currently, 17,165 people in Orange County are fully vaccinated—approximately 46% of the county’s entire population and 56% of its adult population. Statewide, 56% of the population has been vaccinated, with 67% of adults fully vaccinated.
According to VDH, for the week of Aug. 14, unvaccinated people developed COVID-19 at a rate 8.5 times higher than fully vaccinated people and 2.3 times higher than partially vaccinated people.
Of the 4.7 million Virginians vaccinated, 0.2% have developed COVID-19, 0.009% have been hospitalized and 0.0018% have died, the VDH reported.
“The two biggest messages I have is the Delta variant is much more contagious—if you are not vaccinated it will find you—and getting vaccinated changes COVID-19 from a potentially deadly illness into a bad cold,” Rappahannock Rapidan Health District Director Dr. Colin Greene said last week.
The interim health district director noted cases district-wide aren’t as high as they were this past winter, largely because more than half of the RRHD population has been fully vaccinated.
“People who are fully vaccinated almost never die and rarely end up in the hospital,” he said. “There are still concerns about people who are unvaccinated.”
The district includes Orange, Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison and Rappahannock counties.
COVID-19 vaccines are widely available at most local drug stores and pharmacies. RRHD is offering walk-in availability for vaccinations at its five local health departments as follows:
Orange: Every Wednesday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.
Culpeper: every second and fourth Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. Madison: Every Wednesday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.
Need assistance by phone? Contact the RRHD at (540) 308-6072 or the Orange Health Department at 672-1291.