TAZEWELL, Va. — Tazewell County is now considered in the “moderate risk” zone in COVID-19, according to standards by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

County Administrator Eric Young told the board of supervisors during its Tuesday evening meeting a recent surge in cases has put them in that zone.

As of Tuesday, Tazewell County had a cumulative total of 102 positive cases and now seven hospitalizations.

The number of positive cases has almost doubled in less than two weeks and all hospitalizations have occurred in the last two weeks.

“That number can get out of control quickly,” Young said of the community spread that can mushroom from positive cases, many of which have been the result of traveling to places like Myrtle Beach.

Young said the “high risk” or red zone, means a return to Phase Two in the reopening plan which would impact restaurants and social gatherings and some other businesses.

“We are not there yet,” he said of the red zone. “But it would not take much for us to be there.”

The VDH uses a “complicated formula” to categorize counties, Young said, including the number of cases per day and positivity rate per 100,000 population.

“The bottom line is, you are in a moderate risk county that is in what is becoming a high risk state,” he said of Virginia’s numbers that have seen recent increases in positive cases.

Although Young did not at this time recommend any more local restrictions, he said the possibility is there.

The county administration building as well as the animal shelter were closed recently as a precaution as the numbers have increased.

Young said the public information campaign for residents on safety precautions like wearing a mask has also been enhanced.

He also said he has not seen any studies related to the possible impact on the number of COVID cases when schools reopen, which is set for Aug. 17.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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