October’s pandemic numbers approached May’s peak in district

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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, Nov. 2 — The Lord Fairfax Health District reported 909 new cases of COVID-19 during the month of October. That’s the highest level for a single month since May, when the health district saw 980 cases of the coronavirus reported — and it’s nearly a third more cases than the district saw in August (349) and September (349) combined.

On Monday, the Virginia Department of Health reported 43 new cases of COVID-19 within the health district. That’s the highest one-day total since 50 cases were reported last Wednesday. The district added 64 cases over the weekend.

The bulk of new cases within the health district have been seen in three localities. Over the past three days, Frederick County has reported 34 new cases, while Winchester added 26 and Shenandoah County had 25. Warren County reported a dozen new cases during that time.

Shenandoah County surpassed the 1,000-case milestone on Monday, while the health district surpassed 4,000 cumulative cases on Friday.

Page County has seen a decline in new cases over the past two days, with only one new case reported on Monday after no cases were reported on Sunday. That slow down comes after 10 cases were reported in Page over the previous three days, with four cases reported on Thursday and five on Saturday.

No hospitalizations or deaths related to the pandemic have been reported in Page for the past four days.

The bulk of the new cases (nine) reported in Page County over the last five days have been seen in the Luray area, according to ZIP code data provided by the state health department. As of Monday, Page County’s 14-day positivity stood at 5.2 percent — down from 8.4 percent just five days ago.

Reviewing the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths by month shows the current trend of the pandemic within the local health district:

  • April — 410 cases, 41 hospitalizations and four deaths;
  • May — 980 cases, 79 hospitalizations and 46 deaths;
  • June — 584 cases, 54 hospitalizations and 17 deaths;
  • July — 482 cases, 40 hospitalizations and 17 deaths;
  • August — 349 cases, 26 hospitalizations and nine deaths;
  • September — 349 cases, 34 hospitalizations and 20 deaths;
  • October — 909 cases, 62 hospitalizations and 20 deaths.

Many health experts are predicting that a surge in cases in late October, along with rising hospitalizations, could lead to a higher death toll in November. In addition, as cold weather drives more people indoors and more people begin to interact, some experts fear that new cases will continue to rise as we head toward the holidays, and hospitalizations and death may follow.

However, the local health district has only seen seven new hospitalizations due to the pandemic in the past three days, with four in Warren County and one each in Clarke, Frederick and Shenandoah counties. Frederick, Page and Warren counties have all reported COVID-19 deaths over the past six days.

A cumulative breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 4,134 reported cases, 337 hospitalizations and 132 deaths is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):

  • 1,229 — Frederick County (87-13)
  • 1,011 — Shenandoah County (99-61)
  • 653 — City of Winchester (42-5)
  • 627 — Warren County (43-21)
  • 489 — Page County (52-31)
  • 125 — Clarke County (14-1)

Harrisonburg and Rockingham had surprisingly low case counts on Monday, with only three new cases reported between the two localities. However, the low counts were welcome news after Rockingham County reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, and Harrisonburg reported 63 on Friday. Neither locality has seen a death related to the pandemic in over a week, but both have added two new hospitalizations.

Statewide, 1,026 new cases of the virus were reported on Monday. That continues a three-day decline in new cases across the state from a recent peak of 1,551 new cases reported on Saturday. That figure was the fourth-highest, single-day total for new cases since the pandemic hit Virginia in February.

As of Monday, the state’s seven-day positivity rate stood at 5.8 percent. That figure has been increasing slowly for six straight days.

New hospitalizations statewide hit 93 on Saturday — the highest figure since July 16 when 115 hospitalizations were reported in a single day.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported Monday that 1,031 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That represents a decrease of 51 in the last five days.

Among those hospitalized, 214 are currently in intensive care being treated for COVID-19 statewide, according to VHHA — a decrease of 35 in the last five days. Currently, there are 97 COVID-19 patients statewide on ventilators — that figure dipped below 100 on Sunday for the first time in two weeks.

Since the pandemic hit Virginia, VHHA reports that 20,124 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged. 

The state health department only reported three new COVID-19 deaths on Monday, after reporting only one on Sunday. A much higher daily death toll has been seen throughout October in Virginia, but the figure has slowed greatly over the last four days. COVID-19 has claimed a total of 3,658 lives in Virginia since March 14.

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