By Randy Arrington
LURAY, May 4 — While the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to climb across the region and the state, the rate of increase seems to be leveling off and stabilizing.
The Lord Fairfax Health District reported 38 new cases over the weekend (22 reported Sunday and 16 reported on Monday). However, there have been no new hospitalizations or deaths related to the current pandemic reported in the district for three days, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Page County saw six new cases over the weekend (two reported Sunday and four reported Monday morning). That brings the total to 113 reported cases of COVID-19 in Page, with 11 hospitalized and two related deaths.
The first hospitalization in Page County was reported on April 23 — two days after it was announced that a patient at Skyview Springs Rehab and Nursing Center in Luray had tested positive for COVID-19. A total of six hospitalizations were reported in the county on April 23. There has only been two in the last nine days.
Shenandoah County continues to lead the health district with 149 reported cases, including 15 reported over the weekend. Shenandoah has seen an increase of 70 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the last six days.
A breakdown of total cases by jurisdiction for the health district is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 149 — Shenandoah County (12-2)
- 126 — Frederick County (13-1)
- 113 — Page County (11-2)
- 63 — Warren County (4-0)
- 50 — City of Winchester (1-0)
- 10 — Clarke County (1-0)
Statewide, 821 new cases of the coronavirus were reported on Monday morning. Virginia has averaged 851 new cases of COVID-19 per day over the last seven days.
Hospitalizations across the state have averaged 91 per day over the past seven days, with 181 reported over the weekend. According to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, there are currently 1,463 patients in state hospitals who have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. Among those, 348 are in intensive care and 192 are on ventilators. All of those figures represent a downward trend.
The VHHA also reports that as of Monday, a total of 2,547 patients confirmed to have COVID-19 who were hospitalized, have been discharged. The first case of the virus was reported March 7 in Prince William County, but the VDH believes that illnesses began as early as mid-February in Virginia.
Virginia saw 68 new deaths related to COVID-19 reported over the weekend. The Old Dominion has averaged 32 virus-related deaths per day over the past seven days. The state death toll has reached 684.
Statewide, the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to the current pandemic are at their height, but they seem to be leveling off. However, with new outbreaks cropping up in prisons, nursing homes and meat processing plants, it’s hard for experts to determine if Virginia has reached its peak.
This week Governor Ralph Northam is expected to make a decision on reopening non-essential business. His closure order expires this Friday, May 8. The decision is sure to be both difficult and controversial, as COVID-19 data is currently peaking in Virginia. The governor has stated that he wanted to ramp up testing to 10,000 per day and see 14 days of continued decline in COVID-19 cases before reopening the state for business. Neither of those things have happened just four days before the closure’s expiration date.
The Page County Board of Supervisors is also expected to make a decision Tuesday night on potentially lifting the ban on short-term rentals in Page County. A more restrictive measure on short-term rentals was put in place last month, as the county saw an influx of visitors “fleeing the virus” and flocking to Page from areas further north.