New health metrics label several SWVA school systems as ‘high-risk' COVID-19 locations

10 local counties and towns are on the list

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – A new metrics released last week by the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list several Southwest Virginia schools “high-risk" for coronavirus transmission.

As of Wednesday, Montgomery County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Lynchburg, Pittsylvania County, Danville, Buena Vista, Lexington, Bath County and Martinsville were on the list.

The “high-risk” classification is made largely because of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 persons within the last 14 days.

Individual cities and counties are rated in one of five risk levels ranging from lowest to highest. Daily, the numbers can fluctuate as transmission and infection data changes.

“That matrix will influence what we do because we’re following the science," said Dr. Zebedee Talley, superintendent of Martinsville City Public Schools. “We’re following what doctors are saying and we’re following the data with how it is in our area.”

Thursday marks the end of the first nine weeks of Martinsville’s school year. Based on their reopening plan, an announcement is expected whether they will remain virtual or begin phasing students back into the classroom. Currently, the system seems like it will remain virtual.

“The outbreak itself has become sort of steady, which is understandable. We still have up and down days," stated Chris Garrett, local health emergency coordinator of Pittsylvania-Danville & Southside Health District.

The health district will host a free drive-thru testing event Friday, Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Brunswick County Conference Center.

To see where your school system ranks, click here.

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