There were another 4 hospitalizations — and 34 new cases — for COVID-19 reported in the West Piedmont Health District this morning. The Virginia Department of Health has recorded a small but growing surge in new hospital cases in the district. Henry County had 2 of those, and Martinsville and Franklin County had 1 each. Henry County also surpassed 2,000 reported cases of COVID-19, adding 11 more this morning. Martinsville and Franklin County reported 9 each, and Patrick County had 5. That’s now nearly 5,000 cases (4,989), 387 hospitalizations and 111 deaths reported since the pandemic began….VDH reported 3,793 new cases on Saturday and some of that was because some had been backlogged. VDH noted that cases are not reported on the day the patient became ill but on the day they have been classified as meeting the case definition for COVID-19….Two growing problems identified in the West Piedmont Health District: A slow but steady increase in hospitalizations that are going to tax the medical system, and people not cooperating with contact tracers….Optimism is finally building in Washington for a COVID-19 aid bill that would offer relief for businesses, the unemployed, schools and health care providers, among others struggling as caseloads are spiking. President-elect Joe Biden encouraged passage of the bill: “If we act now — I mean now — we can begin to regain momentum and start to build back a better future,” he said. “There’s no time to lose.”…If federal regulators authorize two COVID-19 vaccine candidates, Virginia expects to receive enough doses by the year’s end to begin inoculating nearly all of its health care workers and long-term care facility residents, officials said Friday….The Trump administration on Friday suspended all federal student loan payments through the end of January and kept interest rates at 0%….Much of California is on the brink of sweeping new restrictions on businesses and activities, a desperate attempt to slow the frighteningly rapid escalation of coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm hospitals. Five San Francisco Bay Area counties imposed a new stay-at-home order for their residents starting Sunday….The Virginia Department of Health reports this morning there have been 251,173 cases and 4,197 deaths statewide — up by 37 since Friday. Some 15,255 people have been hospitalized. Henry County has had 2,008 cases, with 182 hospitalizations and 41 deaths. Martinsville has had 757 cases, with 80 hospitalizations and 25 deaths. Patrick County has had 505 cases including 66 hospitalizations and 28 deaths. Franklin County has had 1,719 cases, 59 hospitalizations and 17 deaths. Danville has reported 1,712 cases (51 deaths), and Pittsylvania County has had 1,885 (24 deaths). Johns Hopkins University’s real-time map showed 66,031,342 cases worldwide and 1,521,300 deaths. In the U.S. there have been 14,373,718 cases and 279,008 deaths because of COVID-19.

(112) updates to this series since Updated

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