Loudoun County’s positivity test rate for COVID-19 has increased again since the start of October.

The rate stands at 5.4 percent as of Monday, higher than the 5 percent goal set by local health officials aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. Virginia stands at 5.6 percent.

As of Monday, Loudoun’s new cases per day have jumped to a seven-day average of 45 compared to 24 in late September. Altogether, the county’s case total was 7,576 and there had been 129 deaths. The last local death was reported on Oct. 15.

Dr. David Goodfriend, director for the Loudoun County Health Department, said the general consensus among  his regional counterparts is increased transmission due to people relaxing on safety habits. He added that cases spiked once last week due to a laboratory not immediately submitting its results.

“If we want our schools to reopen, if we want our businesses to reopen, we really need to keep these numbers down as low as possible,” Goodfriend said. “And as we're getting into Halloween and Thanksgiving and shopping for the holidays, it really is going to be critical for us to be able to enjoy those holidays if we're willing to do that safely.”

Goodfriend urged people to get their flu shot, and he expects the second wave of coronavirus cases during the cold season.

As Halloween approaches, the county health department is not recommending door-to-door trick-or-treating due to the risk for virus transmission. Should people engage in Halloween activities, the department is recommending people stay home and away from others if sick.

Additionally, the department is recommending people maintain at least six feet of distance, wash hands, wear a cloth face covering and hand out candy from a distance.

On Saturday, Loudoun provided free flu shots to a record 687 people in underserved communities.

Goodfriend said the event showed the county’s ability to perform coronavirus vaccinations in the future. He said staff is preparing for a COVID-19 now even though one is not yet available. The county is doing so by procuring needed equipment and storage. 

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