By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Dec. 30 — After a three-day decline of COVID-19 data immediately following Christmas, the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to the ongoing pandemic have risen across the state and the region since Monday.
The Virginia Department of Health reported 4,048 new cases of COVID statewide on Wednesday, along with 128 new hospitalizations and 64 deaths. Tuesday’s statewide report showed 4,122 new cases, 177 hospitalizations and 59 deaths.
Virginia’s daily case count exceeded 4,000 for the first time during the pandemic on Dec. 9. The state surpassed that mark four more times by Christmas, including Christmas Day. However, after dropping as low as 1,584 reported cases on Dec. 26, the state has now exceeded 4,000 cases again for the last two days.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate has risen to 12.7 percent. At the start of December, the state’s positivity rate stood at 8 percent.
As of Wednesday morning, 54,295 people in Virginia had been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, among the 285,725 doses that have been distributed to facilities and agencies across the state.
The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported on Wednesday that a total of 2,707 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That’s the highest level since the pandemic first hit the state in mid-February, and it represents an increase of 121 in the past week.
The total number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Virginia surpassed 2,000 for the first time on Dec. 9 and has risen 672 (or 33 percent) in the past three weeks. During the height of the spring surge, statewide hospitalizations only reached 1,524 on May 20.
Among those hospitalized statewide, 553 are currently in intensive care being treated for COVID-19 — the highest level of the pandemic, and up 21 from a week ago. There are 330 COVID-19 patients statewide on ventilators — an increase of 40 in the past seven days and also a record-high for the state. Currently, 82 percent of the ICU beds in the state are occupied.
Since the pandemic hit Virginia, VHHA reports that 30,444 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.
The state health department has reported 123 deaths related to the pandemic in the last two days, after only reporting 41 combined deaths on the three days prior. Virginia surpassed the 4,000-death mark the day before Thanksgiving and currently reports a total of 4,984 people have died from COVID-19 since March 14.
In Page County, the state health department reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 10 new cases on Tuesday. The county has seen a total of 36 cases of the virus since Christmas, but no hospitalizations have been reported in the past week and no deaths since Dec. 2. However, there was one known COVID-related death in the county on Dec. 26 that has not yet shown up in VDH data.
On Tuesday, Page County surpassed 1,000 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic’s first case surfaced in the county on March 31. Currently, Page County’s seven-day positivity rate is 20.1 percent, according to Daily Locality Metrics data provided on the VDH website. On Nov. 16, that rate stood at 3.4 percent and reached a height of 21.7 percent on Monday.
According to ZIP code data provided by VDH, the new cases of COVID-19 reported in Page County since Christmas have surfaced in the following areas:
• 20 cases — Luray area (22835)
• 9 cases — Shenandoah area (22849)
• 8 cases — Stanley area (22851)
Across the Lord Fairfax Health District, a total of 178 new cases of the virus were reported Wednesday, following 192 new cases on Tuesday. The district briefly dipped below 100 daily cases on Monday for only the second time since Dec. 5, when only 70 cases were reported. The health district surpassed 10,000 total cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Frederick County continues to lead the district, with 135 new cases reported over the last two days. However, Shenandoah County has also seen a surge, with 106 new cases in two days. During that time, Warren County reported 49 cases, Winchester had 36, Clarke reported 25 and Page had 19.
No hospitalizations or deaths were reported in the district on Wednesday, but Tuesday’s report showed five deaths, including two each in Frederick (26th and 27th) and Warren (32nd and 33rd) counties, and one in Shenandoah County (72nd).
The district has seen a dozen hospitalizations in the past week, with five in Frederick, four in Shenandoah and two in Warren.
A cumulative breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 10,247 reported cases, 520 hospitalizations and 178 deaths is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 3,703 — Frederick County (142-27)
- 2,186 — Shenandoah County (141-72)
- 1,637 — City of Winchester (75-8)
- 1,321 — Warren County (69-33)
- 1,015 — Page County (72-33)
- 385 — Clarke County (21-5)
On Wednesday, Rockingham County reported its deadliest day of the pandemic with eight new fatalities. That brings the county’s total COVID-related deaths to 47. The county saw 42 new cases of the virus reported Tuesday, followed by 109 new cases on Wednesday. Rockingham also saw 13 new hospitalizations in the last two days.
The City of Harrisonburg reported 42 new cases on Wednesday and 17 on Tuesday. The city reported four new hospitalizations over the last two days and three deaths. Harrisonburg has now seen 44 fatalities due to the pandemic.
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