By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Oct 18 — With nine deaths reported in the first 18 days, October is currently the third-deadliest month of the pandemic in Page County since the first COVID-related fatality was reported here on April 29, 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.
With each wave of new cases during the pandemic, reported deaths related to the virus have typically reached their height during the downward trend in new cases — often called a “lagging” data point of the pandemic. Now, as the Delta variant wave continues to decline, death tolls in the county, region and state have remained high.
The Virginia Department of Health has reported 55 cases of COVID-19 in Page County since Oct. 12, including 24 since Friday. That represents an average of just over nine 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 six days were distributed throughout the county as follows:
• 26 cases — Luray area (22835);
• 13 cases — Stanley area (22851);
• 13 cases — Shenandoah area (22849);
• 1 case — Rileyville area (22650).
Page County’s positivity rate has dropped to 11.6 percent as of Monday after sitting at 20.8 percent two weeks ago. In late September, the county’s positivity reached its pandemic-high of nearly 23 percent. Shortly after the July 4th holiday, the local rate was less than 1 percent.
Among Page County’s COVID fatalities this past week, one was reported on Wednesday, one on Thursday and one over the weekend. Since reporting its first case of COVID-19 on March 31, 2020, Page County has reported a total of 3,287 cases, 165 related hospitalizations and 74 fatalities.
Page County Public Schools has reported 194 cases of COVID-19 within its buildings since opening on Aug. 23. Of those cases, 17 are still active (as of Monday) with 11 cases among students and six among staff.
The Lord Fairfax Health District has reported 564 new cases of COVID-19 over the last six days — down from 924 cases the previous week. Below is a breakdown of new cases reported since Oct. 12 and each localities’ positivity rate within the health district:
• 216 — Frederick County — 7.8%
• 165 — Shenandoah County — 16%
• 98 — Warren County — 11.5%
• 55 — Page County — 11.6%
• 18 — Clarke County — 7.2%
• 12 — City of Winchester — 5.7%
The health district reported 17 hospitalizations related to COVID over the past six days days (three in Page) and 20 related deaths (same as last week). Six deaths were reported in Frederick and Shenandoah counties, five in Warren County, and three in Page County.
Over the past week, Virginia has averaged 2,039 new cases of COVID-19 per day — down from 2,443 the previous week. Statewide hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have fallen to 1,338 — down from 1,585 last Tuesday. Currently, 363 patients are in intensive care being treated for COVID, with 230 on ventilators.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate continues to drop for a fifth-straight week and is currently 7.0 percent — the lowest rate since Aug. 5 and down from 7.8 percent last Tuesday.
Virginia reported 267 deaths related to COVID-19 over the past six days — an average of 44.5 per day, up from last week’s average of about 40 per day. The commonwealth has reported a total of 13,486 deaths from COVID-19 since March 14, 2020.
A total of 609 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered in Page County over the past week — up from 248 the previous week. As of Monday’s report by VDH, a cumulative total of 20,651 vaccinations have been given locally, with 11,023 people in the county receiving at least one dose and 10,094 fully vaccinated (or 42.2 percent of the population).
Statewide, Virginia has administered nearly 11.1 million doses of vaccine, with 5.9 million receiving at least one dose and 5.3 million individuals, or 73.7 percent of the adult population, being fully vaccinated.
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.
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