Richmond, Henrico sees increase in COVID-19 cases and number of people getting tested


RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – On Wednesday morning, more than 80 people were tested for the coronavirus at a testing event at the East Henrico Recreation Center Pavilion on North Laburnum Avenue in two hours.

Cat Long, with the Richmond-Henrico Health District, said health officials have seen an increase in people getting tested for the virus at their events over the past two weeks. She said people were beginning to notice it was more difficult to get a testing appointment, with it taking two to three days to find an appointment.

Over the summer, there was a trickle of people going into testing events across the city and county, so the health district changed their testing events to only occur one day a week. Recently, they began adding more testing events because the staff began to see more people coming to the events getting tested again.

Long said the increase in testing is reflecting an increase in community transmission of the virus, however, there are people who are choosing to get tested before traveling.

As of Wednesday, Long said the city of Richmond and Henrico County have a high community transmission level of COVID-19. The percent positive, or percentage of community transmission within Richmond is about 15 percent, and 10 percent in Henrico.

Recently, the health district opened four community hubs offering vaccinations. Two of them currently offer COVID testing. Long said vaccinations are important and the best tool to bring down the community transmission in both Richmond and Henrico.

“We’re really working to make sure that there are plenty of vaccination opportunities, particularly as we look towards 5 to 11-year-olds getting approved and booster shots getting approved for the general public sometime over the next couple of months,” Long said.

Currently, 51 percent of the total population in Richmond is vaccinated, while 64 percent of the total population in Henrico has had the vaccine. The health district’s data team is looking into why the vaccination rate is lower in Richmond than it is in Henrico, and also why the community transmission percentage is higher in Richmond.

Long said there are high concentrations of poverty in Richmond, which could be minimizing the access people have to vaccines there. She said the health district is continuing to work to build trust within the community and making sure vaccines remain accessible to the community.

If you are interested in getting tested for COVID, you can call the Richmond-Henrico Health District’s call center at 877-829-4682, or go to their website to find a testing location.

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