COVID positivity rate falls below 1% in Blue Ridge Health District
Data from the Blue Ridge Health District (BRHD), which serves Charlottesville and five surrounding counties in Central Virginia, shows that the 7-day average COVID test positivity rate has fallen to just 0.8%.
This is well below Virginia’s statewide average of 3.6% and may currently be the lowest in the state.
Test positivity is a key metric for tracking the spread of COVID in a community. If a significant number of tests come back as COVID-positive, it can be a sign that the virus is spreading rapidly throughout the population.
The World Health Organization considers a 5% test positivity rate as "too high." It has recommended that an area maintain a rate of below 5% for at least two weeks before loosening any restrictions.
In early January, at the height of the nationwide winter surge, test positivity within BRHD reached 11.5% and has been falling steadily ever since.
Much of the decrease may be due to climbing rates of vaccinations, with about 50% of the adult population has received at least one dose.
Only seven new cases of COVID have been diagnosed in the district in the past seven days.
Most counties are seeing between 1-2 cases a day. Fluvanna County, east of Charlottesville,has gone six consecutive days with no reported new cases.
Since the start of the pandemic, BRHD has identified 15,833 total cases within its boundaries. A total of 623 have been hospitalized,and 220 have died.
With the CDC announcement on Thursday (May 12) that those who are fully vaccinated can go without masks in both indoor and outdoor settings, with the exception of public transportation like buses and planes, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) is expected to issue new statewide guidelines within the next several days.
In a statement released by the Governor's office on Friday, Northam said:
Virginia will continue to follow CDC guidelines, as we have throughout this pandemic. We are reviewing this guidance and expect to have more updates soon. Ultimately this reinforces the importance of getting vaccinated. Vaccines are our pathway out of this pandemic, and they are how we can all get back to doing what we love. With the expansion of eligibility to everyone 12 and older, more Virginians can get vaccinated than ever before. If you haven't already, now is the time to get your shot.
If you haven’t scheduled your vaccination, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (1-877-829-4682) for information on how to set up an appointment in your area.