COVID-19 surge linked to southside

Published 3:40 pm Friday, September 25, 2020

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The COVID-19 surge Franklin saw in August and early September seems to have been “confined to a five- to 10-block area” of the city, according to City Manager Amanda Jarratt.

The recent hospitalizations and deaths, she said, are linked to an outbreak at an adult day care center.

While city and state officials wouldn’t name the affected neighborhoods or facility, Jarratt confirmed Virginia Department of Health personnel had recently left bags filled with masks, hand sanitizer and COVID-19 educational literature at the doors of southside residents.

“They started South High, Walnut, Chestnut [streets], that whole area, and went all the way down to Love’s [Travel Stop],” Jarratt said.

Western Tidewater Health District Director Dr. Todd Wagner then confirmed the areas where supplies had been left were among those the health department had identified earlier this month as having higher instances of coronavirus disease.

As of early September, the city as a whole was nearing a 20% positivity rate, meaning nearly a fifth of residents tested for the virus were coming back positive. As of Sept. 25, this rate had fallen back to 9.1%.

“These efforts in total have proven effective, as in recent weeks we have seen a decline in percent positivity in the City of Franklin,” Wagner said, though he and Jarratt both urged city residents to continue to practice masking, social distancing, and frequent hand washing.

“We all would love to see life go back to as normal as possible, and so for us to be able to do that we need to implement those strategies,” Jarratt said.

The city has been selected by the state as a locality eligible to receive additional hand sanitizer and masks, so Franklin is planning on doing a second door-to-door distribution in October or November.

As of Friday, the city has seen 413 COVID-19 cases, 18 hospitalizations and nine deaths since the pandemic began. That’s out of just under 8,000 total residents, making Franklin the third worst Virginia locality in cases per capita.