Fluvanna’s COVID Transmission Rate Considered Moderate

By Heather Michon

Dr. Denise Bonds, health director of the Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD) told the Board of Supervisors that Fluvanna County has seen 446 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 44 hospitalizations, and nine fatalities since the start of the pandemic this spring.

TJDH has pursued an aggressive testing effort across the five-county district, conducting nearly 120,000 tests since April. District-wide, the department and their partners have identified 4,885 cases and seen 80 fatalities.

Fluvanna currently has a case rate of 6.4 per 100,000, which is considered a moderate rate of community transmission. The daily positivity rate — the number of tests which come back positive —  is 4.4 percent within the county. This is higher than the district-wide positivity rate of 2.1 percent, but still considered low.

While Fluvanna and the rest of the district have done well at keeping the spread of the virus limited compared to other health districts, she cautioned that cases are now on the rise statewide.

She urged residents to think carefully about their holiday plans.

“If you are going to celebrate Thanksgiving with a group of individuals outside your immediate household, you really need to take care that you don’t bring an unwanted guest….and that would be COVID,” she said.

If you do plan to travel, she recommended quarantining or getting tested before you go and to practice safe distancing when you arrive — including eating your holiday meal outside if possible, and wearing your mask unless you are eating.

Prescribed burn at Pleasant Grove

Parks and Recreation asked for permission to begin the process of conducting a controlled burn at Pleasant Grove later this winter.

Director Aaron Spitzer and Parks and Rec Advisory Board member Walter Hussey said this was the necessary next step in the Wildlife Meadows program.

Hussey said the program, first approved in 2014, has been a great success. He noted that every Fluvanna school child in the past five years has either planted trees or wildflower seeds during annual Earth Day celebrations, and the area has become popular with local birders, hikers, and other visitors.

Maintaining the meadow is labor-intensive for both staff and volunteers, who manually remove invasive species and vegetation and cut down non-native trees by hand. A prescribed burn program would mimic the natural process for creating healthy meadowlands, while reducing labor.

They are specifically looking at a 10-acre area between Fluvanna County High School and the main road into the park, along with a four-acre patch near the soccer field.

The burn would be conducted by experts from the state’s Department of Forestry in the late winter, when grass is dormant and nesting wildlife is limited. The costs are estimated at $1,000 to $1,500 and would come from funds already in the Parks and Rec budget.

The Board’s approval is the start of a longer process of getting permits and waivers, coordinating with local agencies, and educating the public.

“It’ll just be black for two month,” Spitzer assured the supervisors. Healthy green grass will sprout up again in the spring.

The motion passed 5-0.

In other business:

Supervisor also unanimously approved several requests, including:

  • The annual deer cull at Pleasant Grove by the Wheelin Sportsmen on New Years’ Day.
  • An $18,153 expenditure from CARES Act funds for a new power cot for Ambulance 49.
  • Acceptance of $500,000 in discretionary grant funds for the establishment of an Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court

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