Note: Figures quoted below are current as of May 14.
For people curious to know how many people in their community have had COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has begun breaking down numbers of cases by ZIP code.
The information is presented on a document that appears under the heading "Data Download" on the health department's "COVID-19 in Virginia" page. The document also lists the number of "testing encounters"--that is, the number of tests administered in each ZIP code. That figure is distinct from the number of people tested, since some have been tested more than once.
For Orange ZIP code 22960, there were 17 cases of the virus and 276 testing encounters reported as of May 14. For 22508 (Locust Grove), there were 20 cases and 230 testing encounters. For 22942 (Gordonsville), there were six cases and 234 testing encounters.
Others of interest in and around Orange County:
22701 (Culpeper): 278 cases, 760 testing encounters
22727 (Madison): 14 cases, 102 testing encounters
22733 (Rapidan): 6 cases, 29 testing encounters
22923 (Barboursville): 5 cases, 98 testing encounters
22968 (Ruckersville): 7 cases, 184 testing encounters
23093 (Louisa): 25 cases, 341 testing encounters
The state health department does not provide the number of cases unless there are at least five to report for any given ZIP code. If there are fewer than five cases, the word "suppressed" appears instead of the number.
According to Dr. Wade Kartchner, health director of the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, not listing a small number of cases is a matter of obeying privacy laws.
"Public health information, when put out on a population level, needs to be sensitive to the possibility of identifying personal health information. When there are very few cases in a given area, particularly in a small area such as a ZIP code, then the potential exists for such identification," he said.
The May 14 breakdown of cases by ZIP code indicates there are fewer than five cases for each the following Orange County ZIP codes:
22433 (Burr Hill), 6 testing encounters
22542 (Rhoadesville), 28 testing encounters
22567 (Unionville), 72 testing encounters
22972 (Somerset), 19 testing encounters
For the complete list of ZIP codes, see the document accompanying this story. For updates, check the VDH site each day.