Supervisors hear details about pandemic in Fluvanna

By Heather Michon

Regional cases of COVID-19 are on a downward trend and the transmission rate is moderate, but Fluvanna residents need to remain vigilant, a health official told the Board of Supervisors during their regular meeting on Wednesday (Sept. 2).

Ryan McKay, senior health policy analyst with the Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD), reported that Fluvanna County has seen 226 confirmed cases since the outbreak began in March. Of those cases, 35 people have been hospitalized, and nine of them have died.

Across the health district, which also includes Albemarle, Nelson, Louisa, and Greene counties, the positivity rate is hovering around 6.6 percent, Unlike the early phase of the pandemic, when the majority of cases were among the elderly, the virus is increasingly impacting people in their 20s and 30s.

McKay reported that the cumulative number of cases in Fluvanna rose by 23 in the final two weeks of August, but that the test positivity rate was falling. On August 17, the rate was 5 percent; by August 31, it was down to 3.9 percent.

“It’s a very great number to be at,” said McKay. “It allows us to quickly identify those who do test positive, and identify those who need to quarantine for 14 days, and really contain any sort of further spread from there.”

Overall, he said, the figures give his department “some optimism” about Fluvanna’s ability to weather the pandemic. But he cautioned that the virus is going to be with us for some time, and people need to continue following mitigation strategies like mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing.


Fluvanna will receive a supplemental appropriation of $54,500 from the CARES Act  to cover election-related expenses.

Management Analyst Liz McIver said the funding could be used for items to increase voter safety in the upcoming presidential election. Some qualifying expenditures could include things like secure drop-boxes for those voting by mail or protective supplies for poll workers. Funds must be used by Nov. 30 or be turned back to the state.

New Room

Supervisors voted 5-0 to transfer $663,592 from CARES funding towards the construction of a new meeting room in the basement of the County Administration Building.

The new space will allow more than 40 members of the public to attend county meetings under social distancing guidelines. This is more than any currently available county meeting space. Construction will cost around $570,000. The project budget also calls for up to $45,500 in furniture and sets aside $50,000 for contingencies.

To qualify for CARES funding, the space has to be completed and ready for use no later than Dec. 30. If they fail to meet this deadline, the county would find itself on the hook for the full amount of the project.

County Administrator Eric Dahl said the request for bids includes warnings of penalties and potential legal action for contractors to fail to meet milestones or the deadline. He suggested they might want to make the space available to contractors around the clock to help facilitate the build.

Exercise program

Parks and Recreation Director Aaron Spitzer shared a plan with the Board that would create an opportunity for students in grades 1-8 to participate in an outdoor exercise program during the period of all-virtual schooling.

The Youth Outdoor Gym Program would open two-hour blocks for up to 100 children per grade to participate in guided calisthenics, running, and other physical activities at the high school track and turf field. Spitzer outlined the steps his department would take to keep the children distanced and safe during the program.

Supervisors Mozell Booker (Fork Union) and Patricia Eager (Palmyra) both had issues with the program. Supervisor Booker pointed out that only children with the means to get to the high school for the sessions, which would run from 9-11 a.m. or 2-4 p.m. depending on grade, would be able to participate. Supervisor Eager felt that it simply wouldn’t be safe.

However, Supervisors Donald Weaver (Cunningham) and Tony O’Brien supported the program, as did Chair Mike Sheridan (Columbia). The motion passed 3-2.

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