By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Aug. 13 — With the quick spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, new cases of the virus have been rising rapidly across Virginia and the Lord Fairfax Health District over the last three weeks.
Page County’s seven-day positivity rate has again surpassed double digits and is currently 12.5 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). One month ago, on July 12, the county’s positivity rate stood at 1.9 percent. Since then, Page has reported 119 cases of COVID-19, along with three virus-related hospitalizations and one death — the county’s 61st of the pandemic.
Page’s current positivity rate is the highest since Feb. 4. Until Aug. 4, the county’s seven-day positivity rate had remained in single digits since February, with the exception of three consecutive days in April. At the pandemic’s height, Page saw its positivity rate reach nearly 23 percent in early January.
After seeing 36 new cases reported last week, the Virginia Department of Health has reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 in Page County over the past four days. New cases are popping up all across the county, from Rileyville to Shenandoah; however, zip code data provided by VDH indicates a slightly higher concentration of new cases in the 22835 (Luray area) and 22851 (Stanley area) zip codes, which is where the bulk of the county’s population resides.
The Lord Fairfax Health District has reported 300 new cases of COVID-19 over the past four days. Frederick County again lead the district with 103 of those new cases, with another 43 in Winchester. Shenandoah County has reported 67 cases since Monday, while Warren County has seen 47.
The CDC currently lists Page, Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren counties as HIGH transmission areas for COVID-19, while listing Clarke County as a SUBSTANTIAL transmission area.
Around July 4, the commonwealth was averaging only 182 new cases of COVID-19 per day (over a seven-day average). The last seven days, Virginia has averaged 1,880 new cases per day — including more than 2,000 per day for the last three consecutive days. That hasn’t happened in Virginia since mid-February.
“The Delta variant is here in Virginia, and it is hitting our unvaccinated population especially hard,” State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D, M.A. said in a statement released by the Virginia Department of Health last week.
The Delta variant spreads more than twice as easily as earlier strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the VDH press release. The more infectious delta variant is contributing to a surge of cases in Virginia, and it has been identified in all of Virginia’s five health regions.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate is currently 7.7 percent. The state’s rate has been rising steadily since early July.
Statewide hospitalizations related to COVID-19 surpassed 1,000 on Friday for the first time since April. Currently, there are 1,029 people hospitalized across the commonwealth due to the virus, with 261 in intensive care. The state reported 28 deaths related to the virus over the past four days, and a total of 11,599 since March 14, 2020.
“We have a very effective tool to stop transmission of COVID-19: vaccination,” the state health commissioner said in last week’s press release. “There is no question that COVID-19 vaccination is saving lives and preventing and reducing illness. I urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Do it for your families, your friends, your neighbors, yourself, and join the millions of others who are protected.”
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.
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