MCPS closes for week; concerns about COVID-19 spread in community

Screenshot of the US's number of new COVID-19 cases recorded since the pandemic start. From the CDC's website.

Mecklenburg County’s, as well as the rest of the United States’, community transmission levels have returned to red. In the US, there have been 56,310,718 new cases in the past thirty days. The record-breaking amount of new cases recorded January 3—828,417—are more than double that of the previous record of 294,012 from January 9, 2021. As we saw last year, the caseload has skyrocketed around the holidays.

This increase was likely aided by variants of COVID-19, mostly the Delta and Omicron variant. Both variants have increased virility, but it’s unknown whether either variant has an effect on the severity of the disease.

Mecklenburg County Public Schools announced Tuesday that they will be closing school through Friday, January 7 out of an abundance of caution due to the high transmission rates. Students and staff are currently scheduled to return on Monday, January 10.

Virginia has seen approximately 15,449 new cases from Monday to Tuesday, and 152,461 in a two week period; Mecklenburg County has recorded around 33 new cases, and 231 in the last fourteen days.

Overall, Virginia has recorded 1,176,159 COVID-19 cases throughout the pandemic. Mecklenburg County has recorded a total of 3,929 to date. Out of those numbers, only 43,267 (3.68%) of Virginia’s cases and 148 (3.77%) of Mecklenburg cases have resulted in hospitalizations. Out of Virginia’s total cases, 15,622 or 1.39% have resulted in death. However, out of Mecklenburg’s total cases, 98 or 2.49% have resulted in a fatality.

The Southside Health District has scheduled two more COVID-19 testing events to be held at the Clarksville Community Center. The events are Saturday, January 8 and Saturday, January 20 from 3p.m. to 5p.m. Testing is free and this event is open to the public. No appointment needed. These are PCR tests that will have results in 1-3 days.

As cases have begun to skyrocket again, hospital leaders are urging those with asymptomatic or mild COVID cases to avoid unnecessary trip to the ER so as to not overwhelm hospitals even more. Hospitals have already seen an influx patients seeking emergency care for relatively mild COVID infections.

People with a mild COVID-19 case are urged to stay at home and recover. Those with moderate cases are urged to seek care from their primary care providers virtually when possible. Anyone with a severe COVID-19 infection—with symptoms such as significant difficulty breathing, intense chest pain, severe weakness, or an elevated temperature that persists for days unabated—is advised to seek emergency medical care.

“Virginia’s caregivers have worked nonstop to serve their communities throughout this pandemic. They are feeling the strain of yet another surge and are looking to the community for support,” said Steve Arner, Carilion Clinic Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and the Chair of the VHHA Board of Directors. “It’s crucial for community members to seek the appropriate level of care, ensuring that emergency rooms are reserved for emergencies. Of course, the best support that you can give is to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.”

All COVID-19 data in this article has been collected from the CDC’s and the Virginia Department of Health’s websites.