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City rescinds local emergency

Suffolk City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to rescind the local state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A state of local emergency was declared March 13, 2020, as COVID-19 cases began to increase in Virginia. It came the day after Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia.

On July 9, a resolution was signed rescinding the local emergency, coming as the state rescinded its state of emergency at the end of last month amid declining COVID-19 case counts and rising vaccination rates. More than 70% of adults in Virginia have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The vote came during council’s July 21 meeting.

However, the percent positivity is once again on the increase across the country, and in Suffolk and Western Tidewater, with Suffolk and Southampton County at 7.8%, Franklin at 7.1% and Isle of Wight at nearly 5.7%.

The percentage of those in the city fully vaccinated also is behind state percentages at 40.7%, compared with 53.4% for all state residents. Among adults 18 and up, 50.7% of city residents are fully vaccinated compared with 71.3% statewide.

While the more potent delta variant makes up a majority of COVID-19 cases around the state and country, it has not yet made its presence in Western Tidewater.

In Suffolk, the current number of new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days has increased from 11 on July 12 to 71.3 July 23.

New COVID-19 cases per day in the state have been steadily increasing since late June, going from a seven-day average of 130 on June 23 to 543 on July 23. There were 750 cases reported statewide July 23, the highest number since May 8.

In Suffolk, the number of new COVID-19 cases, though low, have been steadily increasing since July 9, when the city reported none, and had a seven-day average of 2. The current seven-day average of cases in the city is 9.29 cases, with a peak of 22 cases being reported July 20, the highest one-day total since April 13 when there were 25 cases reported that day.