By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Dec. 12 — The Virginia Department of Health on Saturday reported 158 new cases of COVID-19, two hospitalizations and five deaths from the pandemic within the Lord Fairfax Health District.
The health district’s five deaths mark the second-highest level of fatalities the district has seen in a single day since the pandemic began. On May 23, the district reported a record-high of six COVID-19 deaths. Prior to Saturday’s report, the district had only reported five fatalities on two other occasions (May 13 and Sept. 15), and four deaths four times.
The district has reported more than 100 new coronavirus cases for eight consecutive days, after breaking the century mark for the first time on Nov. 17. The health district set a record of 217 new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 30.
Frederick County continues to lead the district with 74 new cases reported on Saturday, while the county seat of Winchester added 20. Shenandoah County saw 38 new cases surface in this morning’s report, while Warren County reported 16 and Clarke County had four.
Page County reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, after hitting a recent peak of 33 cases on Thursday, which was followed by 16 on Friday. According to ZIP code data provided on the VDH website, Page County has seen new cases surface in the following areas over the past seven days:
• 67 cases — Luray area (22835)
• 22 cases — Shenandoah area (22849)
• 18 cases — Stanley area (22851)
• 1 case — Rileyville area (22650)
Page County’s seven-day positivity rate has climbed to 13.5 percent — up from 12.2 percent the last two days, according to Daily Locality Metrics data on the VDH website. That rate “has been increasing [in Page County] for 37 days,” according to the state health department’s website. VDH reports no outbreaks in the county, meaning the current surge of new cases is being spread through community transmission.
Page has seen two hospitalizations due to the pandemic in the past week — one reported Wednesday and one Friday — but the county has not seen a fatality from the virus in 10 days.
Across the health district, 19 hospitalizations have been reported in the past week, with seven of those in Shenandoah County and five in Winchester. Among the five deaths reported on Saturday, Frederick and Warren counties each had two, while one was reported in Shenandoah County, its 68th. The district has seen 14 deaths reported in the past week — five in Shenandoah, four in Warren, three in Frederick and two in Winchester.
A cumulative breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 7,867 reported cases, 477 hospitalizations and 164 deaths is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 2,850 — Frederick County (129-22)
- 1,697 — Shenandoah County (130-68)
- 1,283 — City of Winchester (69-6)
- 1,046 — Warren County (65-31)
- 727 — Page County (64-33)
- 264 — Clarke County (20-4)
Harrisonburg reported 39 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, while Rockingham County had 57. The two localities combined have reported 326 new cases of coronavirus in the past four days. Harrisonburg reported five hospitalizations on Friday, as well as one death. Rockingham has seen 10 hospitalizations in the past week, including seven in the last three days. Rockingham also reported a new COVID-19 fatality on Saturday.
Statewide, 4,117 new cases of the virus were reported on Saturday. That’s only the second time Virginia’s daily count has surpassed 4,000. The last time was three days earlier, when the state set a new record with 4,398 cases of COVID-19 reported on Wednesday.
Virginia’s current seven-day positivity rate stands at 10.9 percent.
New hospitalizations have exceeded 100 for the past five days. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported on Thursday that a total of 2,117 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That figure sets another state record and continues a five-day upward trend. The state had not seen total hospitalizations surpass 1,500 since April and May, but Virginia has now exceeded 2,000 for the first time four consecutive days.
Among those hospitalized statewide, 440 are currently in intensive care being treated for COVID-19 — the highest level of the pandemic in Virginia. There are 229 COVID-19 patients statewide on ventilators — also the highest level of the pandemic. Overall, Virginia’s ICU occupancy is at 77 percent.
Since the pandemic hit Virginia, VHHA reports that 26,434 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.
The state health department reported 39 new deaths related to the pandemic on Saturday, after reporting 35 on Friday and 54 on Thursday. Virginia surpassed the 4,000-death mark the day before Thanksgiving and currently reports a total of 4,409 people have died from COVID-19 since March 14.