A 70th death of a Martinsville resident was reported Saturday morning by the Virginia Department of Health. It was the only reported death in the West Piedmont Health District, and there were only 8 new cases and 0 hospitalizations reported as of 5 p.m. Friday. These deaths likely occurred weeks or months ago. VDH tracks deaths daily but does not add them to its primary database until the cause has been confirmed through death certificates and other documents. Data trackers recently completed evaluating the outcomes from more than 3,700 cases recorded in the district during the post-holiday surge of January. This death makes 44 recorded in the first 12 days of March, following a record 79 recorded in February. There have been 297 deaths since the pandemic began, and 165 of them have been since Jan. 1. The 8 new cases is the second single-digit day in a week and the third this year (the other was when 7 were recorded on Feb. 22). This pushed down the 7-day rolling average to 14, and the 14-day average per 100,000 population has plummeted to 161.2 after surpassing 1200 in January. Since he the pandemic began nearly a year ago, there have been 10,810 cases, 655 hospitalizations and 297 deaths….A resident of Martinsville and another from Patrick County are the latest victims of COVID-19 from the West Piedmont Health District. There also was news revealed Friday about outbreaks at long-term-care facilities….Virginia officials said Friday that the state expects to meet or possibly exceed President Joe Biden’s commitment to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccines by May 1….Joe Biden has directed his administration to order another 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. The U.S. was to have enough approved vaccine delivered by mid-May to cover every adult and enough for 400 million people total by the end of July. Enough doses to cover 200 million more people are on order should vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The new J&J doses, which would cover another 100 million people, are expected to be delivered in the latter half of the year….No. 16 Virginia — the most recent national champion — and No. 11 Kansas were forced out of the semifinals of their tournaments on Friday, a day after Duke also dropped out, ending a disappointing season for coach Mike Krzyzewski’s storied program, all because of positive COVID-19 tests….The Virginia Department of Health reports this morning there have been 593,562 cases and 9,985 deaths statewide — up by 24 since Friday. Some 25,262 people have been hospitalized. Henry County has had 4,263 cases, with 294 hospitalizations and 119 deaths. Martinsville has had 1,522 cases, with 130 hospitalizations and 70 deaths. Patrick County has had 1,260 cases including 97 hospitalizations and 40 deaths. Franklin County has had 3,763 cases, 134 hospitalizations and 68 deaths. Danville has reported 4,350 cases (116 deaths), and Pittsylvania County has had 4,995 (73 deaths). Johns Hopkins University’s real-time map showed 118,867,662 cases worldwide and 2,634,979 deaths. In the U.S. there have been 29,330,642 cases and 532,151 deaths because of COVID-19.

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