Albemarle, Charlottesville playing the COVID-19 hysteria game well
Leaders in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville would have you believe there is some sort of local COVID-19 emergency brewing.
The numbers don’t bear that out, but more on that in a minute.
First, to the new public health restrictions effective Saturday, Aug. 1.
“In reviewing local data for cases, percent positivity, and resource availability and capacity with the Health Department, it is clear that Albemarle County is not where we want to be with respect to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Albemarle County Board of Supervisors chair Ned Galloway said on Monday.
Money quote there after the BOS voted on Monday to approve an emergency ordinance that will require face coverings in indoor public spaces and all outdoor public spaces where six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained, will restrict gatherings to 50 people, with some exceptions, and limit seating capacity in food and beverage establishments to 50 percent capacity, with a 50-person maximum.
Charlottesville City Council passed a similar measure on Monday.
Now, to the numbers, which you can bet no one else in local media will look up or have the ability to contextualize.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, Albemarle County – population 109,300 – has had 718 cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases since mid-March.
Of those, 317 have come in the past month, and 80 in the past week, as VDH has dramatically stepped up its testing regimes.
The data for Charlottesville, population 48,117: 433 cumulative COVID-19 cases, 221 in the past month, 66 in the past week.
According to the VDH website, the Thomas Jefferson Health District reported 13,144 COVID-19 testing encounters from July 1-25, after having reported 19,171 tests in total for the first three and a half months of testing.
You’d expect increased testing to lead to increased case totals.
And even so, Albemarle, at 660.4 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, and Charlottesville, at 899.9, are still significantly below the state average of 1,008.5 cases per 100K.
Which, that should be good news, and more good news with respect to the recent trends is that the case numbers aren’t translating into a run on the local hospital system.
Again, according to VDH, Albemarle County has reported a total of 51 COVID-19 hospitalizations since mid-March, 23 of those coming in the past month, and nine in the past week.
The corresponding numbers for Charlottesville: 22 cumulative COVID-19 hospitalizations, five in the past month, three in the past week.
Which is to say, doing the math, 28 total hospitalizations between the two in the past month, 12 in the past week.
UVA and Martha Jefferson – aggregate capacity: 788 beds – are probably doing OK.
Flatten the curve was never about, no more COVID cases.
It was about, let’s make sure our hospitals can deal with the serious cases when they arise.
Something else is going on here, which you can gather from how the emergency ordinances approved on Monday make violations – failing to wear a mask, a business failing to comply with occupancy limits – punishable as misdemeanors.
These people, basically, have lost their goddamn minds.
Story by Chris Graham