TJHD health officials caution Albemarle Supervisors of likely increase in COVID-19 infections

TJHD warns

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD) says it expects COVID-19 cases to fluctuate as the weather gets colder, and although prevention efforts are working, positive case counts from the University of Virginia are rising.

Doctor Denise Bonds and analyst Bryan McKay shared a new report from TJHD with Albemarle County’s Board of Supervisors this afternoon, citing the county’s 5.3% positivity rate as of September 14. McKay says the rate has been decreasing for two weeks.

Despite the county’s COVID-19 ordinances helping prevent positive cases, Dr. Bonds predicts case numbers will continue to rise because of UVA’s students returning to the area.

However, Dr. Bonds noted that test results from the health district may not be reflected in UVA’s data as a result of privacy issues.

“Ultimately if a student says to us, I don’t want you to report my case to UVA, then we follow their privacy direction because that’s the mandate that we have," Bonds said. "We can’t share information without the individual’s expressed permission to share it. We try really hard because we think it helps UVA to understand the burden, but at the end of the day, it’s the student’s responsibility.”

Bonds and other board members agreed that increased testing efforts, as well as social distancing guidelines and mask requirements will help keep infection rates low.

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