Amid a fresh spike in COVID-19 cases, the local health department is planning a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Saturday in Ringgold.
The event will be held at the Rock Springs United Methodist Church at 2445 Rocksprings Road from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. According to a press release, this clinic only accepts walk-in customers.
A range of vaccines – first, second and booster doses – will be available for everyone aged 5 and over. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Residents are asked to bring their vaccination cards with them if they come for a follow-up shot.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, immunizations in the Commonwealth have slowed to a crawl, with only about 1,500 shots per day. About 30,000 COVID-19 vaccines were administered daily during the January surge.
The decline began in February when virus cases fell drastically.
In Danville and Pittsylvania County, only about half of residents are considered fully vaccinated and only 1 in 4 have received a booster shot. Boosters are now available for everyone over the age of 5 and are considered by health professionals to be a necessary layer of protection given the swirling variants.
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A second booster dose is available for people age 50 or older, or people 12 and older who are “moderately or severely immunocompromised,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.
A recent study shows that the risk of hospitalization or death from infection by an omicron variant is reduced by 70%, according to the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute.
Put simply, while it’s possible for even a vaccinated person to contract COVID-19, those with the immunizations are far less likely to experience severe symptoms that would require hospitalization.
The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District remains on an upswing, according to a brief report by UVa Friday. Taken together, Danville and Pittsylvania County average about 32 new COVID-19 cases per day, but that number is likely an understatement of the actual number of illnesses in the community. Results from the now-popular home test kits are not recorded in the official government database, so it’s not clear how many people currently have the virus.
Statewide, rates fell slightly week-over-week, but UVa experts warned that the Memorial Day holiday may have impacted those numbers.
The subvariant known as BA.2.12.1 accounts for about 70% of new cases in Virginia, according to the CDC. This is a descendant of the Omicron variant, which caused record cases and hospitalizations in the winter.
With each new variant, the portability increases. This is one reason for an increase in the current number of cases.
UVa’s latest models forecast a steady rise in cases, culminating in a peak in July. Currently, the projection seems to remain below the level of the January wave.
Danville fell to low community level for COVID-19 last week after moving up to medium level in May, according to the CDC. The federal agency is now using new cases in combination with current hospitalizations to weigh the burden on the health care community. In the low level, face masks are not recommended.
However, Pittsylvania County remains in intermediate stage, meaning masks are recommended “if you are at high risk of serious illness,” according to the CDC.
The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District added two new COVID-19 deaths last week, bringing the death toll from the coronavirus to 483 since March 2020. Although these deaths were reported last week, the deaths likely happened weeks earlier. The state health department is awaiting the official death certificate to confirm it was the case with COVID-19.