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Lynchburg City and health officials say Central Virginia coronavirus numbers are rising

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 5:54 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - “We have the power to slow this virus,” said MaryJane Dolan, Lynchburg mayor.

Slowing the virus - that was the emphasis of a Monday press conference called by Dolan.

“Wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance and stay home whenever possible,” said Dolan.

Health officials from Centra and the Virginia Department of Health spoke to say coronavirus cases are rising in the Central Virginia region.

Chris Lewis, Centra’s vice president of medical affairs, says the rebound has gotten to the point of sending patients out of Lynchburg General to other Centra facilities.

“We actually on Friday began to move some patients towards Farmville - our Farmville hospital that were COVID-positive - as we were seeing high numbers at Lynchburg General. And frankly, our numbers at our Farmville facility had dropped,” said Lewis.

Kerry Gateley, VDH Central Virginia Health District director, said the Central Virginia region has hit over 1,100 cases of coronavirus, 300 of which came in the past week alone.

He also said more people between ages 20 to 29 are contracting the virus in the region.

“The age of our cases is sliding, or skewed toward the younger,” said Gateley. “And that age group, 20 to 29 is our predominant age group right now for the number of cases.”

In an effort to help with testing, Gateley said the Central Virginia Health District was given a $120,000 grant.

He says VDH hopes to use the money to create more testing events.

“What I’m envisioning is lots of smaller-scale testing events instead of one great big event,” said Gateley.

Gateley also said studies he’s seen say up to 40 percent of people with the virus could be asymptomatic but still spreading the virus.

Officials from Centra and the Virginia Department of Health said we should consider everyone in public as having the virus.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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