By Randy Arrington
LURAY, July 19 — Although still relatively low when compared to the height of the pandemic, reported cases of COVID-19 have been rising over the last three weeks across the region, the state and the nation, as vaccinations continue to slow down.
Page County reported only eight new cases of COVID-19 over the past week (after seeing seven the previous week); however, the county’s seven-day positivity rate climbed from 1.9 percent last Monday to 4.5 percent today. There were no hospitalizations or deaths reported in the county over the last seven days.
The Lord Fairfax Health District reported 87 new cases of COVID-19 over the past week, up from 50 the previous week. Frederick County reported 69 of the district’s new cases, with 20 reported in Warren County and 18 in Shenandoah County. Frederick’s County’s high count may be related to a data adjustment to correct earlier errors, as neighboring Clarke County had a total of 31 cases removed from its total in the past week.
“The recent large variations in case counts at the county level are almost certainly accounting changes, probably based upon changes in addresses, but possibly by changes in diagnosis,” Dr. Collin Greene, director of the Lord Fairfax Health District, told PVN in June. “There are numerous zip codes that cross city and county lines that can cause residency confusion. A person might also be hospitalized or tested in a different county from their residence, causing an initially incorrect entry.”
The health district reported six hospitalizations related to the virus over the last seven days, but no deaths were reported within any of the six jurisdictions within the district. Of the hospitalizations, five were reported in Frederick County, with one in Shenandoah County.
Virginia’s daily average of new cases over the last three weeks has grown from 182, to 237, to this past week’s daily average of 376. Those figures still pale in comparison to the rate of 2,000 to 3,000 new cases per day (for weeks) that the commonwealth saw during some of the worst of the pandemic, including a peak of 9,914 COVID-19 cases reported on Jan. 17. However, it still represents several weeks of steady increases.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate is currently 3 percent, up from 2.1 percent last Monday.
Statewide hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have risen as well over the past week totaling 281 as of Monday — the highest total in three weeks — with 79 patients in ICU and 40 on ventilators. The state reported 33 deaths related to the virus over the past seven days — up from 19 the previous week — and a total of 11,483 since March 14, 2020.
A total of 216 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered in Page County over the past week — up from 209 the previous week and 187 the week before. The number of local residents receiving at least one dose actually fell by 44 in the last seven days, but this comes as good news as second shots were administered and the number of fully vaccinated residents increased by 297 (up from 66 last week). As of Monday’s report by VDH, a cumulative total of 17,143 vaccinations have been given locally, with 9,294 people in the county receiving at least one dose (39.8 percent of the population and 47 percent of adults) and 8,560 fully vaccinated (35.8 percent of the population and 43.5 percent of adults).
Statewide, Virginia has administered more than 9.3 million doses of vaccine, with nearly 5.1 million receiving at least one dose and more than 4.5 million individuals, or 64.2 percent of the adult population, fully vaccinated. Just before Memorial Day, the Old Dominion was averaging 50,111 vaccinations each day — over the past week, that figure has fallen to a daily average of just 11,356.
The state of emergency that Governor Northam declared on March 12, 2020 in response to COVID-19 expired on June 30.
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.