By Randy Arrington
LURAY, July 23 — The Virginia Department of Health reported a new death related to COVID-19 Thursday morning in Page County. That brings the county’s pandemic death toll up to 24 — one of the highest, per capita, in Virginia.
VDH also reported two new cases and three new hospitalizations in Page County on Thursday. The new hospitalizations are the first reported in the county since last Thursday, when two others were added. Page has now had a total of 35 people hospitalized among the 326 cases of COVID-19 that have been reported since March 31.
Prior to Thursday morning, Page County had not seen a new death related to the pandemic reported since June 2.
Both of Page County’s new cases on Thursday were reported in the 22835 (Luray) ZIP code area. A current look at the ZIP code breakdown for cumulative totals of cases and testing is as follows (as of July 23):
- ZIP code 22835 (Luray area) — 172 cases, 897 tests, 19.2% positivity rate;
- ZIP code 22851 (Stanley area) — 86 cases, 419 tests, 20.5% positivity rate;
- ZIP code 22849 (Shenandoah area) — 66 cases, 466 tests, 14.2% positivity rate.
Page County’s new cases, new hospitalizations and new fatality all reported on Thursday are not coming from where some residents (and even some health experts) might expect.
“Things are going very well,” Jill Irby said Thursday morning. The administrator of Skyview Springs Rehab and Nursing Center in Luray sounded much happier than in April and May, when dozens of cases swept through the facility and claimed the lives of 21 residents.
“We have no active COVID[-19] cases at this time,” Irby stated on Thursday. “And we are still on lockdown… or limited visitation.”
Irby was quick to note that the only visitation allowed is through windows, or the glass doors at the entrance. In-person interaction is still not allowed, per federal and state guidelines.
“We are doing great,” Valley Care Management Marketing Director Randy Atkins also said Thursday morning. “We still have not had any cases.”
Atkins said that applied to both staff and residents at all five longterm care facilities that VCM operates, including Hawksbill Assisted Living and Whispering Pines Assisted Living in Luray, as well as Journeys Crossing in Elkton and TimberView in Timberville.
Page County’s three hospitalizations and one death related to the pandemic were the only ones reported within the Lord Fairfax Health District on Thursday.
Shenandoah County actually had one reported COVID-19 hospitalization taken off its cumulative total, as well as six reported cases, after those “probable cases” were deemed not to be the coronavirus. Clarke County had two COVID-19 cases removed from its total, while Warren County had one case and one fatality reclassified. The health district actually reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, but the cumulative total only grew by two after the nine “probable cases” mentioned above were removed.
Frederick County actually had the highest number of new cases on Thursday, with seven. Winchester and Page County each reported two.
A cumulative breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 2,372 reported COVID-19 cases, 208 hospitalizations and 83 deaths is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 649 — Shenandoah County (70-40)
- 614 — Frederick County (46-7)
- 382 — City of Winchester (27-4)
- 339 — Warren County (22-7)
- 326 — Page County (35-24)
- 62 — Clarke County (7-0)
Both the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County reported two new cases of the coronavirus and two new hospitalizations on Thursday, with no new deaths.
Statewide, 844 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Thursday. That figure is down slightly after daily increases in new cases remained at more than 900 for eight consecutive days. However, the state’s positivity rate has climbed to about 8 percent, after dropping below 6 percent more than a week ago.
New hospitalizations in Virginia have climbed for four consecutive days. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported Thursday that 1,218 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That figure is up 61 since yesterday.
Among those hospitalized, 257 are in intensive care, according to VHHA — up four since yesterday. Currently, there are 136 COVID-19 patients statewide on ventilators — no change since yesterday.
Since the pandemic began, VHHA also reports that 10,479 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.
VDH only reported three new deaths statewide on Thursday, after reporting only three on Wednesday. The low numbers are a welcome reprieve after Virginia hit a recent high of 17 reported COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday. A total of 2,054 people statewide have died during the pandemic since March 14.