As of Wednesday, Sept. 25, the Virginia Department of Health reported approximately 333 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Franklin County, which is a sizeable increase from the previous weeks.

During the prior two weeks, Franklin County has seen a 31 percent increase in the number of reported new cases, which is the largest increase in the number of new cases since the pandemic began last March.

The number of confirmed cases in the county has since increased to 343 as of Monday. There have been 16 hospitalizations and three deaths.

Although there has been a recent spike, when comparing the county to surrounding counties adjoining Smith Mountain Lake, the overall numbers for Franklin County are lower.

In Bedford County, there have been 769 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 40 hospitalizations and 13 deaths as of Monday. The trend in that county has remained steady for September. In Pittsylvania County, there have been 1,002 confirmed cases, 55 hospitalizations and nine deaths. The trend there has been decreasing.

Franklin County has an estimated population of 56,042 as of 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau, so 0.61 percent of the population has had a confirmed case. Bedford County has an estimated population of 78,997, which means 0.97 percent of the county has been infected. Pittsylvania County has an estimated population of 60,354, giving it the highest percent per population of confirmed cases of the three counties at 1.66 percent.

Franklin County officials reminded citizens to help one another and continue to work in reducing the threat of community spread of COVID-19. The county expressed the importance for area residents and visitors to continue to adhere to wearing facial coverings or masks in public areas, exercise social distancing, and practice good hand hygiene.

Residents are urged to practice healthy disease prevention practices including:

• Wearing a mask or face covering.

• Exercising social distancing of at least 6 feet.

• Washing hands often with soap (preferably 20 or more second duration).

• Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.

• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

• Staying home if you are sick.

• Avoiding large groups of persons.

• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Franklin County officials continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby offering guidance and collaboration with local/state officials, health care providers, first responders, schools, businesses, social service agencies, etc. For more information, visit the county COVID-19 page at https://www.franklincountyva.gov/678/Coronavirus-COVID-19.

Read more stories in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services to view articles in the print and/or e-edition version.

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