Lord Fairfax Health District shows higher positivity rate than Fairfax County

COVID-19 Coronavirus in Page County, Virginia
Page Valley News will have continuing coverage of the Coronavirus' impact on Page County.

By Randy Arrington

LURAY, May 28 — As testing continues to ramp up across the state, so do the number of new COVID-19 cases reported by the Virginia Department of Health. However, a more positive byproduct of increased testing is increased data.

State health officials are hoping to get better control of the COVID-19 pandemic by increased and improved testing, providing more accurate data to detect trends, followed up with tracking positive cases and containing outbreaks.

Currently hundreds of jobs are available on the VDH website for contact tracers, working in such roles as case investigators, testing coordinators, data managers and analytics coordinators.

One thing that increased testing has helped reveal for health officials is a clearer picture of the positivity rate within a given area or community. Currently, Virginia has about a 13.8 percent positivity rate for COVID-19 tests administered as of Wednesday. Health officials have set a goal to get that number under 10 percent in order to feel safer about a further relaxation of public health restrictions.

According to VDH, the Lord Fairfax Health District shows a positivity rate of 29.2 percent. Fairfax County — currently the state’s epicenter for cases (10,503), hospitalizations (1,267) and deaths (371) related to the current pandemic — has a positivity rate of 20.6 percent.

In addition, the number of new cases is on the rise recently, with 144 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the northern Shenandoah Valley in just the last two days. However, among those new cases only 14 were hospitalized — eight of those in Shenandoah County.

Thursday marked the 10th time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, that all six jurisdictions in the Lord Fairfax Health District showed an increase on the same day. Eight of those days have occurred in May.

Three new deaths were reported Thursday in the health district — all in Shenandoah County.

A breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 1,279 total cases is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):

  • 414 — Shenandoah County (44-20)
  • 319 — Frederick County (23-4)
  • 213 — Page County (24-21)
  • 168 — City of Winchester (10-1)
  • 141 — Warren County (14-2)
  • 24 — Clarke County (3-0)

One contributor to new cases within the health district is the recent outbreak at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. The first case was discovered at RSW a week ago on Thursday, May 21. On Friday, the second case was reported. As of Tuesday, there were at least 17 reported cases in the regional jail just north of Front Royal.

The Virginia Department of Corrections recently reported that 10 percent of the 11,000 inmates tested for COVID-19 have tested positive. With more “point prevalence” testing scheduled in the coming days at state prisons, more cases are expected among the 30,000-plus incarcerated in Virginia.

As of May 14, there were 44 Page County inmates housed at the regional jail in Warren County. However, due to privacy laws, there is no way to confirm if any of the inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 at RSW are from Page County.

There have been 25 outbreaks of COVID-19 at correctional facilities in Virginia and six related deaths. The outbreak at RSW is one of 16 outbreaks within the health district, and the only one at a correctional facility in the region.

Page County saw five new cases reported on Thursday; 16 have been reported since Memorial Day. ZIP code data has not been updated since Tuesday to show a further breakdown within the county.

On a positive note, Page County has only seen two new hospitalizations related to the pandemic this week, and no new deaths reported.

Harrisonburg reported 11 new cases overnight, with one hospitalized and two new deaths. The Friendly City now has a cumulative total of 757 reported cases of COVID-19, with 56 hospitalizations and 23 deaths. Rockingham County reported seven new cases on Thursday, with one hospitalized and no new deaths.

Statewide, 1,152 new cases were reported today, bringing the cumulative total in Virginia to 41,401. That’s an increase over yesterday’s 907 new cases, and it marks the third time in four days that new cases have topped 1,000.

Virginia’s death toll hit a new one-day high of 57 on Thursday. That replaces the previous one-day high of 45 set yesterday. A total of 1,338 people have died from COVID-19 since the first virus-related fatality was reported in the Commonwealth on March 14.

Henrico County saw 12 deaths reported overnight, along with four in nearby Chesterfield County. Loudoun County reported 10 deaths on Thursday; Fairfax County had seven; and Shenandoah County reported three.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported today that 1,502 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That figure is up 43 from yesterday and has increased by 99 over two days. Among those hospitalized, 416 are in intensive care (up 26 from yesterday and 62 over two days) and 195 are on ventilators (down 8 from yesterday).

Since the pandemic began, VHHA also reports that 5,472 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged. 


No COVID-19 cases in Page jail; precautions taken as district sees first outbreak

• Lord Fairfax Health District sees 71 new cases overnight

Virginia deploys AI-powered online tool to self-screen for COVID-19

Governor requires face masks in public starting May 29

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