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"There's a real possibility we don't go to Phase 3, we go back to Phase 1"; COVID-19 cases could halt progress in Henry County and Martinsville

 VDH graph showing the rise of COVID-19 cases in Henry County.
VDH graph showing the rise of COVID-19 cases in Henry County. (WDBJ)
Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 6:26 PM EDT
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When Phase 1 of reopening businesses started 30 days ago, the number of COVID-19 cases in Henry County were relatively low with just 30, and 3 in Martinsville.

Since then, the numbers have rapidly increased and Monday the county reported 202 cases and 54 in the city.

"Per capita we are higher than just about anybody west of Lynchburg, so it is sort of worrisome and we need to figure out how to do it better," said Henry County Administrator Tim Hall.

VDH officials say outbreaks at various factories have played a role the spike and Hall believes fatigue has also been a factor.

"People are tired of doing what we have asked them to do and what the health department has asked them to do, and there is a little bit of validity to that and I think people want this to be over," said Hall.

As plans for the upcoming school year and for Phase 3 of reopening are being made, Hall says if this rate of new cases continues, that could be put on hold.

"I think there is a real possibility that we don't go to Phase 3, we go back to Phase 1," said Hall.

Shirley Meeks, owner of Collinsville Engraving, says that would be devastating.

"The small businesses are just now getting on their feet and it would be sad to go backwards, I don't know how many of us can stay in business," said Meeks.

The first sign of delay opening in Martinsville and Henry County came Monday when SOVAH Health announced visitors will be allowed at its Danville hospital but not in Martinsville.

Even more reason Hall is asking county and Martinsville residents to take this seriously and wear masks.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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