By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Feb. 28 — While reports of new cases of COVID-19 continue to trend downward, Page County looks back on February as the second-deadliest month of the pandemic. A total of 19 COVID-related deaths were reported in the county this month, second only to May 2020 when there were 20 local deaths following an outbreak of the virus in a Luray nursing home.
By comparison, the months of December and January saw a combined nine COVID deaths in Page County — and this was while the rapidly spreading Omicron variant pushed new cases to more than 300 per week and the county’s positivity rate reached 43.5 percent. A rise in deaths is often a lagging data point during a pandemic, following a surge in new cases and hospitalizations.
The Virginia Department of Health has reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 in Page County over the past week. There were 47 cases reported the previous week and 64 cases the week prior to that. Six weeks ago, the county peaked at 304 new cases in one week. There were two hospitalizations related to the virus reported in the county over the last seven days .
Page County’s current seven-day positivity rate was unavailable on Monday. The VDH website, which updates “Local Transmission Rates” weekly (updated each Monday), still contained the county’s rate for Feb. 21 — 15.4 percent. That figure represents a four-week downward trend from a peak of 43.5 percent on Jan. 24.
Page reported five COVID-related deaths over the past week, which brings the county’s pandemic death toll to 116. One death was reported Wednesday, with two reported on both Thursday and over the weekend.
The Lord Fairfax Health District reported 268 new cases of COVID-19 over the last seven days, down from 539 the previous week and 676 the week prior to that. Every locality within the health district reported fewer new cases this week. Updated positivity rates for surrounding localities were not available on Monday. Below is a breakdown of new cases reported since Feb. 21 within the health district:
122 — Frederick County
59 — Shenandoah County
49 — Warren County
30 — Page County
9 — Clarke County
(1) — City of Winchester
The health district reported 21 hospitalizations related to COVID over the past seven days (19 the previous week) and 16 related deaths (20 last week). Warren and Page counties each reported five deaths, while Frederick County saw four, and Shenandoah County had two.
Over the past week, Virginia has averaged 1,621 new cases of COVID-19 per day — down from 2,552 the previous week and 3,783 the week prior to that. Six weeks ago Virginia peaked at a daily average of 16,917 new cases, and set a new one-day, record-high of 26,175 new cases reported on Jan. 8.
Statewide hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have fallen to 902 — the first time below 1,000 since Dec. 1 — after sitting at 1,221 last Monday and peaking at 3,948 on Jan. 18. Currently, 187 patients are in intensive care being treated for COVID, with 114 on ventilators.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate stands at 7.3 percent, the lowest level since Dec. 3. Last Monday, the rate was reported at 8 percent. In mid-January it hit nearly 36 percent.
Virginia reported 626 deaths related to COVID-19 over the past seven days, up from 448 the previous week and 590 the week prior to that. The commonwealth has reported a total of 18,771 deaths from COVID-19 since March 14, 2020.
A total of 114 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered in Page County over the past week — down from 149 the previous week. As of Monday’s report by VDH, a cumulative total of 28,544 vaccinations have been given locally, with 12,566 people in the county receiving at least one dose and 11,860 fully vaccinated (or 49.6 percent of the population). A total of 5,469 in the county have received a third shot or booster for the COVID-19 vaccine (28 percent of the adult population in the county).
Statewide, Virginia has administered about 15.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with about 6.9 million receiving at least one dose and 6.2 million individuals, or 82 percent of the adult population, being fully vaccinated. About 2.8 million Virginians have received a third “booster” dose of the vaccine.
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.