By Randy Arrington
LURAY, April 17 — This morning, the Lord Fairfax Health District reported 14 news cases of COVID-19 across its five-county service area — three of those new cases were in Page County.
Page saw its biggest single-day increase, as the total number of cases jumped from seven to 10, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Page County reported its first case on March 31.
The VDH updates its COVID-19 statistics each morning by 9 a.m. Those figures reflect data provided by hospitals, healthcare facilities and independent laboratories as of 5 p.m. the previous day.
Friday’s report reflected increases for every county in the district, except Clarke. The breakdown of total COVID-19 cases within the health district as of April 16 follows (new cases in the last 24 hours):
- 76 — Frederick County (4)
- 33 — Shenandoah County (5)
- 22 — Warren County (1)
- 22 — City of Winchester (1)
- 10 — Page County (3)
- 6 — Clarke County (0)
Per capita, the City of Harrisonburg saw the biggest overnight increase in the state with 95 new cases of COVID-19 reported this morning. The Friendly City went from 119 cases yesterday, to a total of 214 cases as of this morning — an increase of nearly 80 percent in 24 hours. Prior to today, Harrisonburg’s biggest single-day increase was 22 on April 11.
The key to Harrisonburg’s huge increase is an outbreak reported earlier this week at Accordius Health in Harrisonburg. The Daily News-Record reported Thursday that: “City spokesman Michael Parks confirmed ‘dozens’ of positive cases at the South Avenue nursing home as of Thursday.”
On Thursday, the Daily-New Record also reported that one resident, 73-year-old Jim Southerly, died from the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to family members.
Rockingham County also saw a 20-percent increase overnight, rising from 69 to 83 cases of COVID-19.
Fairfax County continues to lead the state with 101 new cases reported this morning, for a total of 1,476 — more than double the number of the next highest case count of 644 in Prince William County. The breakdown of total cases in the state’s “hot spot” of Northern Virginia follows (increase in last 24 hours):
- 1,476 — Fairfax County (101)
- 644 — Prince William (62)
- 485 — Arlington (32)
- 385 — Loudoun County (7)
- 321 — Alexandria (46)
Many health districts and localities across the state are showing higher numbers in Friday morning’s report, as the Richmond-area continues to be the second-biggest cluster of cases in the state. A breakdown of cases around the state’s capital follows (increase in last 24 hours):
- 532 — Henrico County (35)
- 291 — Chesterfield County (24)
- 201 — City of Richmond (13)
The City of Virginia Beach anchors the third-highest cluster of cases in the Tidewater region, but new cases there are increasing at a slower, more steady pace. While Virginia Beach has a total of 265 cases, the city of about 1 million has only reported 14 new cases this week.
Virginia reported 602 new cases overnight statewide. It was the biggest single-day jump since April 9, when the state reported 709 new cases in single day. The current total number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia stands at 7,491. On March 31, there were 1,250.
Statewide hospitalizations due to the coronavirus have risen to 1,221 — an increase of 107 overnight. There are another 499 hospitalized patients in Virginia awaiting test results for COVID-19.
Of those hospitalized, 400 are in intensive care (down 27 from yesterday) and 224 are on ventilators as of Friday morning (down 14 since yesterday), according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. There are a total of 2,862 ventilators in Virginia, with 622 (or 22 percent) now in use. There are a total of 5,587 beds available statewide.
The VDH reports that as of Friday morning, a total of 1,110 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from Virginia hospitals.
The VDH also reports a total of 117 outbreaks across the state (an increase of five since yesterday). Of those, 66 are in long-term care facilities, where 37 of the Virginia’s 231 COVID-19-related deaths have occurred. There were 23 deaths overnight.
While COVID-19 cases and deaths increased across Virginia overnight, many health officials are still uncertain about a potentially bigger and lengthier surge in numbers.
“While [the number of new cases in the U.S.] are still going up, they are not going up as fast as they were,” Dr. Colin Greene, director of the local health district, stated during a webinar about COVID-19 on Wednesday.
However, across the region, health officials say there could be more “hidden” cases.
“We’re still not really sure how many mild or undetected cases there are,” Dr. Greene said of Page County during Wednesday’s webinar. “Their symptoms may be so mild they haven’t surfaced yet.”
Dr. Barbara Walter, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Page Memorial Hospital, said earlier this week that it’s a wait and see situation for everyone involved.
“It is difficult to know when or if we will have a much larger surge,” Dr. Walter said. “Our community has done well with social distancing and sacrificing time and boredom for the lives of their fellow Page Countians.”
A total of 48,997 people in Virginia have been tested for COVID-19. The state is averaging more than 2,000 tests per day.
On Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam issued a call for more healthcare volunteers to step up through the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps. The press release states, “It is estimated up to 30,000 volunteers are needed to provide support for the expected surge in hospitals and long-term care facilities throughout the Commonwealth.”