There no have been more than 7,000 cases of COVID-19 in the West Piedmont Health District, the Virginia Department of Health reported this morning. The good news is that the string of triple-digit cases in the West Piedmont Health District came to a halt at least for one day. VDH reported 68 new cases in the district after West Piedmont had reached record single-day highs for cases in the past three days, including a record 110. Better there were no deaths, and hospitalizations grew by 1, when a statistical adjustment reduction of 1 in Patrick County offset 2 new hospitalizations in Martinsville. Of the 7,006 cases reported in the district — there have been 471 hospitalizations and 134 deaths — the two biggest age groups are 50-59-year-olds (1,180) and 40-49 (1,036). There have been only 423 older than 80 — second only to 0-9 among age brackets — but that group has seen about a 1 in 7 fatality rate because 67 of them have died. About 10% (105) of those older than 70 who have been infected (1,160) have succumbed….VDH also reported 5,010 cases statewide this morning, just short of the record total….The four deaths bracketing the new year and the record-setting numbers of cases in the West Piedmont Health District also suggest there might be a new outbreak at a nursing home. Health care officials cite community spread and talk about vaccinations….Clay Campbell of Martinsville Speedway predicts a great year in 2021….The COVID-19 death toll in the United States has surpassed 350,000 as experts anticipate another surge in coronavirus cases and deaths stemming from holiday gatherings over Christmas and New Year’s. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows the U.S. passed the threshold early Sunday morning. More than 20 million people in the country have been infected. The U.S. has begun using two coronavirus vaccines to protect health care workers and nursing home residents and staff but the rollout of the inoculation program has been criticized as being slow and chaotic…..U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on Sunday said he has “no reason to doubt” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 death toll, contradicting President Donald Trump’s claim that the agency has “exaggerated” its numbers….A vaccine appointment at a Canton, S.D., hospital turned into a marriage proposal when a paramedic and EMS supervisor, scheduled to get his vaccination on Dec. 23, proposed to his boyfriend, one of the vaccine administrators at Sanford Canton-Inwood Medical Center….The Virginia Department of Health reports this morning there have been 363,765 cases and 5,124 deaths statewide — up by 7 since Saturday. Some 18,310 people have been hospitalized. Henry County has had 2,757 cases, with 219 hospitalizations and 55 deaths. Martinsville has had 1,031 cases, with 99 hospitalizations and 27 deaths. Patrick County has had 806 cases including 72 hospitalizations and 28 deaths. Franklin County has had 2,412 cases, 81 hospitalizations and 24 deaths. Danville has reported 2,452 cases (63 deaths), and Pittsylvania County has had 2,774 (38 deaths). Johns Hopkins University’s real-time map showed 84,761,360 cases worldwide and 1,838,440 deaths. In the U.S. there have been 20,439,674 cases and 350,267 deaths because of COVID-19.

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