By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Oct 25 — After several weeks of declining data surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Page County saw an increase in cases over the past seven days and once again reports the highest positivity rate within the Lord Fairfax Health District.
The Virginia Department of Health has reported 67 cases of COVID-19 in Page County since Oct. 18, including 28 since Friday. That represents an average of 9.5 new cases each day, but down from 25 per day during the height of the Delta variant spread. According to zip code data provided by the VDH, the new cases surfacing over the last seven days were distributed throughout the county as follows:
• 36 cases — Luray area (22835);
• 16 cases — Shenandoah area (22849);
• 15 cases — Stanley area (22851);
• 1 case — Rileyville area (22650).
Page County’s positivity rate has risen to 14.5 percent as of Monday, after sitting at 11.2 percent one week ago and 13.7 percent two weeks ago. In late September, the county’s positivity reached its pandemic-height of nearly 23 percent. Shortly after the July 4th holiday, the local rate was less than 1 percent.
Over the past week, Page County also reported seven hospitalizations due to the virus and two deaths. Both fatalities were reported on Friday, the 75th and 76th in the county during the pandemic. With 11 COVID-related deaths reported this month, October 2021 has become the second-deadliest month in Page County since the pandemic began in March 2020.
After an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Luray’s Skyview Springs Nursing and Rehab Center in April 2020, the novel corona virus was credited for 20 deaths reported in May 2020 (although not all of those deaths were tied to Skyview’s outbreak). The county’s death toll did not hit double digits again until March 2021, when the decent of the winter spike produced 10 reported deaths in Page.
Page County Public Schools has reported 203 cases of COVID-19 within its buildings since opening on Aug. 23. Of those cases, 14 are still active (as of Monday) with 11 cases among students and three among staff.
The Lord Fairfax Health District has reported 456 new cases of COVID-19 over the last seven days — down from 564 cases the previous week and 924 the week prior to that. Page County and the City of Winchester were the only localities within the health district to see an increase in cases over the last week. Below is a breakdown of new cases reported since Oct. 18 and each localities’ positivity rate within the health district:
• 156 — Frederick County — 5.1%
• 119 — Shenandoah County — 12.4%
• 79 — Warren County — 10.1%
• 67 — Page County — 14.5%
• 21 — City of Winchester — 7.6%
• 14 — Clarke County — 7.1%
The health district reported 45 hospitalizations related to COVID over the past seven days (17 previous week) and 18 related deaths (20 previous week). Nine deaths were reported in Frederick County, three in Shenandoah County, and two in Page, Clarke and Warren counties.
Over the past week, Virginia has averaged 1,545 new cases of COVID-19 per day — down from 2,039 the previous week. Statewide hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have fallen to 1,230 — down from 1,338 last Monday. Currently, 320 patients are in intensive care being treated for COVID, with 222 on ventilators.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate continues to drop for a sixth-straight week and is currently 6.3 percent — down from 7.0 percent last Monday.
Virginia reported 259 deaths related to COVID-19 over the past week — an average of 37 per day. The commonwealth has reported a total of 13,745 deaths from COVID-19 since March 14, 2020.
A total of 272 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered in Page County over the past week — down from 609 the previous week. As of Monday’s report by VDH, a cumulative total of 20,923 vaccinations have been given locally, with 11,102 people in the county receiving at least one dose and 10,201 fully vaccinated (or 42.7 percent of the population — the lowest rate in the health district).
Statewide, Virginia has administered nearly 11.2 million doses of vaccine, with 5.9 million receiving at least one dose and 5.3 million individuals, or 74.2 percent of the adult population, being fully vaccinated. A total of 373,171 Virginians have received a third “booster” dose of the COVID-19n vaccine.
The Virginia Department of Health reports that between Jan. 17, 2021 and Sept. 18, 2021, unvaccinated people developed COVID-19 at a rate of 7.4 times that of fully vaccinated people, and 2.4 times that of partially vaccinated people.
The data to support that statement relating to breakthrough cases stretches from Jan. 17 to Sept. 18 among 5 million fully vaccinated Virginians as follows:
• 0.5% — developed COVID (26,926)
• 0.021% — hospitalized due to COVID (1,053)
• 0.0054% — died from COVID (273)
Unvaccinated individuals and those who are not fully vaccinated should continue wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces in accordance with federal CDC guidance.
Vaccines are available by pre-registration and appointment. To pre-register, or to update your pre-registration record, visit www.vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (1-877-829-4682). English- and Spanish-speaking operators are available. Translation services also are available, in more than 100 languages. For TTY, dial 7-1-1.