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Look for Santa ‘round the corner, in neighborhoods and towns

Christmas celebrations will be different this year due to the pandemic, but even with restrictions in place communities in and around Mecklenburg County are finding new ways to keep the…

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Another virus death reported in Halifax / October 22, 2020

COVID-19 has claimed another life in Halifax County, raising the local death toll to eight since the onset of the pandemic in March.

The death, reported Wednesday by the Virginia Department of Health, comes as other indicators suggest the spread of coronavirus in Halifax County has slowed in recent days. The test positivity rate in Halifax — the ratio of all people tested and the number of COVID-19 diagnoses — has fallen to 2.6 percent. A number above 5.0 percent indicates sustained community spread.

VDH is reporting that 464 county residents have contracted the virus since March, with six new cases reported on Wednesday. In the past week, 23 people in the county have tested positive for COVID-19. Halifax County has added 101 cases since Oct. 21.

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 220,000 people, although the Centers for Disease Control has suggested that number is an undercount, due to gaps in reporting the official causes of death. The state health department has pegged the death toll in Virginia at 3,515 people through Wednesday.

In surrounding localities, deaths from the virus are also on the rise, fanning fears among public health officials that the pandemic is likely to worsen further as colder weather arrives and people spend more time indoors.

Charlotte County saw its first COVID-19 death this week, and the county has one of the highest test positivity rates — 9.6 percent — in the Southside and Central Virginia region.

In the City of Danville, two more deaths have been reported in the past two days, raising the toll there to 40. In surrounding Pittsylvania County, 17 people have died, six this week.

Mecklenburg County has seen two more COVID-19 deaths this week that have not yet shown up on the VDH’s daily tracking website. The deceased are an elementary school teacher and her husband. The news weighed on members of the Mecklenburg County School Board at their monthly meeting Monday night in Boydton. The trustees heard from Paul Nichols, superintendent of Mecklenburg County Public Schools, who recommended against allowing high school and middle school students to return to school.

The school board agreed to continue remote learning for the secondary school student population. Mecklenburg has been holding four-day, in-person school for elementary students, with roughly a third of families opting instead to keep their children at home.

During the school board meeting, Chase City-area trustee Ricky Allgood brought up the infections of the school teacher and her husband. “We have a teacher now who is on a ventilator and her husband will be buried in two days. They did not contract the virus at school,” said Allgood. The teacher died Tuesday, the day after the meeting.

The Mecklenburg school division is also grappling with a case of COVID-19 at Park View High School in South Hill. There are currently eight teachers and 10 students in quarantine after a student contracted COVID-19 and exposed 17 others in the building, according to school officials and employees who have identified Park View High as the site of the exposure.

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