By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Feb. 4 — The Virginia Department of Health only reported three new cases of COVID-19 in Page County on Thursday. A reprieve from the 30 cases reported over the two previous days. However, Thursday’s figures also showed one of the three new hospitalizations the county has seen from the virus since Monday, as well as Page’s 41st fatality during the pandemic.
Page County’s seven-day positivity rate currently stands at 12.8 percent, according to Daily Locality Metrics data provided on the VDH website. That’s the lowest positivity rate reported in the county since Dec. 11.
According to ZIP code data provided by VDH, the new cases of COVID-19 reported since Monday in Page County surfaced in the following areas:
• 22 cases — Luray area (22835);
• 6 cases — Shenandoah area (22849);
• 5 cases — Stanley area (22851).
As of Thursday morning, the state health department’s vaccine dashboard showed that 3,251 people in Page County have received the first dose of the vaccine. The report also shows 264 people in the county have been fully vaccinated to include the “booster” or second dose.
Below is a breakdown of vaccine doses administered and those who have been fully vaccinated (two doses) across the Lord Fairfax Health District as of Thursday’s report:
• 9,337 doses administered, 1,360 fully vaccinated — City of Winchester;
• 7,844 doses administered, 1,127 fully vaccinated — Frederick County;
• 7,045 doses administered, 1,140 fully vaccinated — Shenandoah County;
• 4,572 doses administered, 512 fully vaccinated — Warren County;
• 3,251 doses administered, 264 fully vaccinated — Page County;
• 2,423 doses administered, 242 fully vaccinated — Clarke County.
The Lord Fairfax Health District reported a total of 115 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, after reporting 162 on Wednesday and 82 on Tuesday.
The health district has seen 14 new hospitalizations since Monday, and a total of 17 deaths — making it one of the deadliest weeks of the pandemic for the region. Shenandoah County reported four deaths on Thursday, while Frederick County reported two and Page had one. With eight reported deaths on Thursday, it marked one of the deadliest single days of the pandemic for the district.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported at a high level, relative to the entire pandemic, VDH released news yesterday of a new strain found in this region.
“The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) [Wednesday] announced that a case of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 has been identified in a sample from an adult resident of Northwest Virginia who recently returned to Virginia after international travel. The B.1.1.7 variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. A preliminary report from experts in the United Kingdom indicates that this variant causes more severe illness than other variants, but more studies are needed to confirm this finding,” a VDH press release reads.
“The Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) confirmed the case using next-generation sequencing that provides a genetic blueprint of the virus that causes COVID-19. DCLS has informed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the case. In addition to this case in the Northwest Region, Virginia has now identified three cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the Northern Region, for a total of four cases with the B.1.1.7 variant in the Commonwealth. With our surveillance efforts, it is likely that additional cases will continue to be identified in Virginia,” the press release continues.
“Viruses change all the time, and VDH expects to see new strains as disease spreads. As our state public health officials closely monitor for the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant and other variants in our Commonwealth, it is important that all Virginians comply now with mitigation measures. This means wearing a mask, staying at least six feet from others, washing hands often, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 when it is your turn, and staying home if you are infected with COVID-19 or if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19.”
Statewide, 3,059 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Thursday, slightly up from 2,959 cases on Wednesday and 2,740 on Tuesday.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate has been declining for 25 consecutive days and now sits at 11 percent.
Statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at 2,444, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. That’s two less than Monday, after hospitalizations peaked this week at 2,545 on Wednesday.
Among those patients, 486 are being treated in intensive care units — up eight since Monday. Among those, 294 are currently on ventilators — down 10 since Monday.
As of Thursday morning, 775,357 people in Virginia had been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — about 9.1 percent of the state’s overall population. A total of 145,284 people in Virginia have been fully vaccinated.
Currently, an average of 39,770 doses of the vaccine are being administered each day in Virginia — a 26-percent increase since Monday.
The state health department has reported 176 deaths related to the pandemic in the past three days. A total of 6,650 people have died from COVID-19 in Virginia since March 14.
For more information about COVID-19 variants, visit the VDH COVID-19 Testing website and the CDC New COVID-19 Variants website. For more information on DCLS and its use of next-generation sequencing, visit dgs.virginia.gov/dcls.
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