By Randy Arrington
LURAY, June 8 — New cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported all across the region, but the number of hospitalizations and deaths have remained low as the pandemic seems to be easing in Virginia.
While the state teetered between rising and falling numbers for much of May — peaking in early- to mid- May — a downward trend in many categories has become more evident in June. The welcome news does come with a cautionary note — experts fear loosening health restrictions, combined with recent widespread protests, could see COVID-19 cases spike this summer.
Page County has reported 14 new cases of the coronavirus in the past five days, with seven of those reported yesterday by the Virginia Department of Health. However, Page has not seen a new hospitalization or death reported in the last six days.
The Lord Fairfax Health District has reported 123 new cases of COVID-19 in the past five days, but among the six jurisdictions within the district, there were only seven hospitalized. Five of those were in Shenandoah County; the others in Frederick County and the City of Winchester.
Among those new cases over the past five days, more than half were in Frederick and Winchester, with the remainder spread across the district — Winchester 37, Frederick 31, Shenandoah 19, Warren 16, and Clarke and Page both with 14.
There have been three deaths within the health district reported in the last five days related to the current pandemic. Two occurred in Shenandoah County and one in Warren.
A breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 1,628 total cases of COVID-19 is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 484 — Shenandoah County (50-24)
- 409 — Frederick County (26-4)
- 245 — Page County (26-24)
- 235 — City of Winchester (15-2)
- 220 — Warren County (14-4)
- 35 — Clarke County (3-0)
Across the Massanutten, Harrisonburg has seen 24 new cases of the coronavirus reported in the last five days, while Rockingham County has reported 41. Yet, among the 65 combined cases, there have only been four hospitalized. Harrisonburg has not reported a pandemic-related death in 11 days. In Rockingham, it’s been nearly three weeks since a COVID-19 death was reported.
Statewide, 570 new cases were reported on Monday. Yesterday, VDH reported 1,284 new cases of COVID-19 across the state. The large jump on Sunday was due mostly to remote testing sites spread throughout the state over the weekend in a continued effort to increase testing.
At last count, the state had hired less than 200 of the 1,300 contact tracers and testing analysts they plan to bring on board to keep COVID-19 outbreaks under control. The increased testing — for both the COVID-19 virus and its antibodies — is giving health officials a better idea of how the pandemic is progressing in the state. Currently, the state is showing a positivity rate of just over the 10-percent goal they are trying to reach.
The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported today that 1,173 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That figure represents a third consecutive day under 1,200 hospitalized — the lowest figures since early April. For much of May, that figure fluctuated around 1,500.
Among those hospitalized, 308 are in intensive care, according to VHHA. That figure is down eight from yesterday and has dropped 26 percent from a high of 416 on May 28.
The same report indicates that 160 COVID-19 patients are currently on ventilators (down 20 in the past five days).
Since the pandemic began, VHHA also reports that 6,557 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.
VDH has reported 49 pandemic deaths in Virginia in the past five days. At its peak — when state health officials adjusted figures to include “probable” COVID-19 deaths — there were 45 fatalities reported May 27, and 57 new deaths on May 28. That’s 102 deaths reported in two days, versus 49 reported in the last five days.
On Monday morning, VDH only reported five new deaths related to COVID-19. That ties the low point for May, when the state reported only five new pandemic deaths on May 18 and May 31. Before that, it was April 14 the last time the pandemic death toll in Virginia saw only five fatalities in a single day.
As of Monday’s report, a total of 1,477 people in the Old Dominion have died from COVID-19 since the first death was reported on March 14.