By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Dec. 27 — The winter wave of COVID-19 cases keeps climbing, and the entire state could see several more weeks of surging numbers before the pandemic subsides. Virginia is averaging more than 6,000 new cases per day and currently reports its highest positivity rate since mid-January during the last winter wave. The Lord Fairfax Health District reported two of its six highest days for new cases this past week, and every jurisdiction in the region — except Page County — saw a rise in cases and currently sits around 20 percent (or more) positivity.
The Virginia Department of Health reported more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 in Page County for the third-consecutive week with 108 new cases surfacing since Dec. 20, including 32 cases over the weekend. A total of 143 cases were reported the previous week. Zip code data provided by VDH shows the following breakdown for new coronavirus cases reported in the county over the past week:
- 59 cases — Luray area (22835)
- 28 cases — Stanley area (22851)
- 16 cases — Shenandoah area (22849)
- 7 cases — Rileyville area (22650)
Page County’s positivity rate has dropped to 21.2 percent after reaching a pandemic-high of 26.4 percent a week ago. Page’s positivity rate was driven up by the lack of testing, according to health district officials, but it no longer marks the third-highest in Virginia as it did a week ago. Now, localities all around Page have positivity rates higher than 20 percent — from Augusta and Shenandoah to the south and west, to Winchester, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Prince William and Stafford to the north and east. Highland County, one of the least populated counties in the commonwealth (just west of Augusta) currently reports a positivity rate of 50 percent.
Page County saw five hospitalizations related to the virus over the past week (same as last week). One COVID-related death was reported in Page on Wednesday. It was the county’s 91st pandemic fatality and the third reported during December.
The Lord Fairfax Health District has reported 1,220 new cases of COVID-19 over the last seven days, up from 1,074 the previous week. Page County was the only jurisdiction within the health district to not report an increase in new cases. Below is a breakdown of new cases reported since Dec. 20 and each localities’ positivity rate within the health district:
• 464 — Frederick County — 19.0%
• 239 — Shenandoah County — 22.4%
• 206 — Warren County — 19.4%
• 142 — City of Winchester — 20.7%
• 108 — Page County — 21.2%
• 61 — Clarke County — 22.5%
The health district reported 23 hospitalizations related to COVID over the past seven days (same as last week) and 18 related deaths (10 last week). Frederick County reported nine COVID-related deaths, while Warren County reported five, Shenandoah County had three and Page one.
Over the past week, Virginia has averaged 6,307 new cases of COVID-19 per day — nearly double the 3,286 cases per day reported the previous week. Statewide hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have risen to 1,672 — up from 1,436 the previous week. Currently, 399 patients are in intensive care being treated for COVID, with 218 on ventilators.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate is at its highest since mid-January, now reported at 14.5 percent (as of Monday). One week ago the commonwealth’s rate stood at 9.3 percent. During last winter’s surge, Virginia’s positivity peaked at 16.8 percent on Jan. 10. During the Delta surge in September, the state reached only 10.9 percent positivity.
Virginia reported 183 deaths related to COVID-19 over the past seven days, slightly up from 179 the previous week. The commonwealth has reported a total of 15,319 deaths from COVID-19 since March 14, 2020.
A total of 431 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered in Page County over the past week — slightly down from 537 the previous week. As of Monday’s report by VDH, a cumulative total of 25,891 vaccinations have been given locally, with 12,040 people in the county receiving at least one dose and 11,011 fully vaccinated (or 46 percent of the population). A total of 3,812 in the county have received a third shot or booster for the COVID-19 vaccine (nearly 20 percent of the adult population in the county). Nearly 73 percent of the COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Page County over the past week (313) were booster shots.
Statewide, Virginia has administered about 13.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with about 6.6 million receiving at least one dose and 5.7 million individuals, or 78 percent of the adult population, being fully vaccinated. About 2 million Virginians have received a third “booster” dose of the vaccine.
Unvaccinated individuals and those who are not fully vaccinated should continue wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces in accordance with federal CDC guidance.
Vaccines are available by pre-registration and appointment. To pre-register, or to update your pre-registration record, visit www.vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (1-877-829-4682). English- and Spanish-speaking operators are available. Translation services also are available, in more than 100 languages. For TTY, dial 7-1-1.