MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Two more residents of Martinsville have been found to have died from COVID-19.
Those deaths were recorded by 5 p.m. Sunday by the Virginia Department of Health, bringing to 76 the city’s victims and 310 in the West Piedmont Health District who have fallen to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
This brings to three the death toll in April after a surge in early March that declined significantly in the final week.
VDH tracks data by a person’s residence, but otherwise we know only about victims what can be deduced from changes in the data updated each day.
We know that one of these victims was at least 80 years old, as roughly 52%, or 160, of the 310 victims have been, but the other was between the ages of 50 and 59, the 26th victim in that age bracket.
Both were men (167 have been), and one was white (222) and the other Black (78).
These deaths could have occurred weeks or months ago, though. VDH officials meticulously comb records to verify COVID-19 as the cause of death before adding to its database.
The health department’s website explains officials are counting people who died because of COVID-19, not those who died for another reason and happened to have the illness. For example, if someone has COVID-19 and is involved in an automobile crash that causes a death, it is not counted amount the coronavirus fatalities.
“Many of the deaths that VDH reviews have underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or dementia,” the website reports. “VDH only counts deaths among people with these conditions as COVID-19-associated if the patient’s medical record, healthcare provider, or death certificate specifically indicates that they died due to COVID-19 or an acute respiratory complication of COVID-19.”
If someone with COVID-19 dies and the health department does not list it as COVID-19-related, the health department does not enter that into the coronavirus death database.
“VDH does count deaths among people with underlying conditions where the death certificate specifically lists that COVID-19 was an immediate or contributing cause of death,” the website said. “In these situations, it is likely that the COVID-19 infection worsened the underlying condition and the two together contributed to the patient’s death.”
Cases still down
There also were 11 new cases reported in the health district, breaking a streak of single-digit days.
That 11 matches the 7-day rolling average, but the rolling average per 100,000 population fell to 8.0. That 7-day average had peaked at 112.4 on Jan. 11.
Franklin County had most of those cases (six), and Henry County had one. Martinsville and Patrick County reported one each.
Virginia has surpassed 4.2 million doses distributed, and in the West Piedmont Health District there have been more than 63,000 shots distributed.
As of Monday afternoon, 39,183 (or 28.6%) of residents in the district had received at least one dose of either Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. And just less than 24,000 (or about 17.4%) were fully vaccinated.
Statewide rates are 32.8% having had one shot and 18.1% fully vaccinated.
In Martinsville – for a weeks last among all state localities in vaccination rates — more than 31% of 12,852 residents have received a shot, and nearly 1 out of 5 is fully vaccinated.
Henry County has the next-best one-shot rate (29.7%), but Franklin County has more fully vaccinated residents (about 18.3%).
Patrick County, where a special clinic is being staged this week in Meadows of Dan, is lagging the district, with 23.5% having received one shot and 13.5% fully vaccinated.
Steven Doyle of the Martinsville Bulletin and Charles Wilborn of the Danville Register & Bee contributed to this report.