By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Oct. 8 — New cases of COVID-19 surged on Thursday, as the Virginia Department of Health reported 47 new cases of the coronavirus within the Lord Fairfax Health District and 1,844 new cases statewide.
The state health department offered the following explanation behind the one-day statewide surge: “The case count reported on Thursday, October 8, includes 689 cases that should have been reported on Wednesday, October 7, but were not because of a surveillance system reporting issue.”
Thursday marked the second-highest day for new cases statewide since the pandemic reached Virginia in mid-February. The only day with a higher number of new cases came on Aug. 7, when VDH reported 2,015 new cases.
Several spikes in new cases reported in recent months have been explained by state health officials as a “data backlog.” Typically, the surges were seen after a wave of testing results came in from independent laboratories, or a glitch was discovered in the technology or data reporting process.
However, despite the surge in new cases, Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate stands at only 4.8 percent — the same rate reported on Wednesday.
For much of the pandemic, Virginia has bounced between an average of 800 to 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus being reported each day, with the exception of June when the daily average fell to the 400 to 600 range for new cases.
The 47 new cases of the coronavirus reported within the local health district on Thursday marked the highest one-day total since June 3, when 49 cases were reported. Among today’s new cases, the bulk surfaced in Shenandoah (16) and Frederick (14) counties. Both Page and Warren counties each reported seven new cases.
The seven new cases reported in Page County represent the highest one-day total since May 25, when nine cases were reported in a single day. However, seven new cases of COVID-19 were also reported in Page on July 22, July 15 and June 7.
According to ZIP code data provided by VDH, four of the new cases in Page surfaced in the Luray area (or 22835 ZIP code) and three in the Shenandoah area (22849 ZIP code). A countywide breakdown of the 17 new cases reported over the past week show the virus is evenly spread out across the county:
- 6 cases — 22835 (Luray area);
- 6 cases — 22849 (Shenandoah area);
- 5 cases — 22851 (Stanley area).
Page County has seen a steady flow of new cases reported over the past six days. Two new hospitalizations were reported in the county over the past week, with one on Thursday. No new deaths related to the pandemic have been seen in Page since Sept. 16.
All six jurisdictions within the health district reported new cases on Thursday — something that has occurred five of the last eight days. For the entire 30 days of September, it only happened three times.
Four new hospitalizations were reported within the district on Thursday, with two in Shenandoah County and one each in Page and Warren counties.
Two deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported in the district over the past week — both were in Warren County, which has seen five of its 12 pandemic fatalities occur in October.
A cumulative breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 3,334 reported cases, 287 hospitalizations and 118 deaths is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 971 — Frederick County (67-13)
- 849 — Shenandoah County (93-59)
- 525 — City of Winchester (37-4)
- 467 — Warren County (33-12)
- 422 — Page County (45-29)
- 100 — Clarke County (12-1)
Harrisonburg reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. The city is seeing an upward trend in new cases over the past few days after a slow down from the huge surge of cases that followed the beginning of fall classes at James Madison University. On Thursday, the city also reported one new hospitalization and one new death — it’s 35th fatality from COVID-19.
Rockingham County added 10 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, but no new hospitalizations or deaths.
Statewide, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported Thursday that 933 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That figure is down 70 from the previous day, but up 43 from one week ago.
Over the past six weeks, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has remained in the 900 to 1,100 range. In May, it topped 1,500 and then steadily declined throughout June to below 800 on several days. In early July, it began to climb again and remained over 1,000 until Sept. 17. The number hospitalized from the pandemic has been rising over the past few days, surpassing 1,000 again just yesterday.
Among those hospitalized for COVID-19, VHHA reports that 196 are currently in intensive care — a decrease of 32 since yesterday. ICU patients reached a peak of 416 on May 28 and declined until early July, when it began to rise again until hitting 300 on Aug. 18. ICU patients have declined since then and have been averaging around 200 for the past two weeks.
Currently, there are 89 COVID-19 patients statewide on ventilators — down 20 from yesterday. At its height in May, there were more than 200 patients with COVID-19 on ventilators in the state, but that figure dropped to less than 100 by early July. After averaging just under 150 in August, the figure declined throughout September and dropped below 100 again on two days during the past week.
Since the pandemic hit Virginia, VHHA reports that 18,278 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.
VDH reported 25 new deaths related to the pandemic on Thursday — the highest single-day total since 29 fatalities were reported in Virginia on Sept. 23. The Commonwealth’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 3,328.