Charlottesville-area surge in COVID-19 cases moves region to 'Very High' category

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The coronavirus continues to spread across the region. On Monday, the Charlottesville area moved into the "very high" category.

COVID cases are surging, and the Blue Ridge Health District says the region is one step below the "severe" level. 

This increase isn't isolated, with every locality in BRHD's area is seeing a rise in cases.

Ryan McKay, the BRHD COVID Incident Commander, said there is no one component of community activity that is causing this increase. There is a multitude of factors, the biggest of which is the Delta variant.

"It's very much related to the Delta variant and the challenges it provides," he said. "It's much more transmissible than what we have seen before, sometimes upwards of 50 percent more transmissible, and it's really impacting those who are unvaccinated. So when you combine people who are unvaccinated in situations where masking isn't involved and socially distancing isn't involved and then you add in a variant that is much more transmissible, it's going to create a surge within our community.”

Right now Albemarle County is reporting the lowest increase while Nelson County has the highest.

McKay said that increasing vaccination rates is going to be critical. Whether it's the Delta variant, future variants or the virus in general, the best protection for people is the vaccine.

He also advises masking and social distancing to help bring down the surge.