By Randy Arrington
LURAY, July 6 — Shenandoah County continues to show gains in all categories of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Virginia Department of Health reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 in Shenandoah County over the weekend, with 11 of those cases reported on Sunday. The county only saw one new hospitalization related to the coronavirus (reported Sunday), but VDH reported four new deaths — three on Sunday and one on Saturday.
Warren County also reported one pandemic fatality on Saturday.
While Shenandoah County, like the region and the state, had shown some signs of slowing down in June, it continues to lead the Lord Fairfax Health District with nearly 600 cases of the coronavirus, 66 hospitalizations and 34 deaths.
Due to their smaller populations, both Shenandoah and Page counties rank in the Top 10 in Virginia for pandemic-related deaths per 100,000 people. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Page County currently ranks fifth in the state on this list, while Shenandoah County comes in seventh. The City of Harrisonburg sits just outside the Top 10 at No. 11.
The health district as a whole reported 34 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. While Shenandoah County alone had 41.2 percent of those new cases, the remainder was spread throughout the five other areas in the district — five cases in Warren County; four each in Frederick County, Page County and the City of Winchester; and three in Clarke County.
Clarke, Frederick, Page and Winchester did not report a death or hospitalization related to the pandemic over the weekend.
Frederick County actually had one case of COVID-19 taken off its cumulative total on Monday. While VDH does not explain these adjustments to the data, it is most likely a reclassification of an earlier diagnosis. These adjustments have occurred more frequently in recent weeks.
A breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 2,093 cases of COVID-19 is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 598 — Shenandoah County (66-34)
- 520 — Frederick County (42-6)
- 334 — City of Winchester (24-3)
- 299 — Warren County (18-8)
- 285 — Page County (29-23)
- 57 — Clarke County (5-0)
While Page County only saw four new cases over the weekend, the most recent ZIP code report only goes through July 4 and does not reflect those cases. Page had no cases reported on Saturday, but then saw two new cases on both Sunday and Monday.
However, the 14 cases that Page County reported Tuesday through Friday of last week broke down as follows: seven new cases in the Shenandoah area, six new cases near Luray and only one case in the Stanley area.
A current breakdown of COVID-19 cases and testing in Page County (as of July 4) by ZIP code is as follows (this does not include the four cases reported Sunday and Monday):
- 22835 (Luray) — 160 cases, 687 tests, 23.3% positivity rate;
- 22851 (Stanley) — 73 cases, 272 tests, 26.8% positivity rate;
- 22849 (Shenandoah) — 44 cases, 317 tests, 13.9% positivity rate.
The 22650 ZIP code (Rileyville) data on new cases remains suppressed by VDH because of the low number of cases and the small population in that area. The state suppresses data in these areas in order to protect patients’ privacy. The last data available (July 4) shows that 23 people in the 22650 area have been tested for COVID-19. That’s up four since the last report.
While Shenandoah’s positivity rate has slightly increased as Luray and Stanley decline, it should be noted that the level of testing is not significant enough to give a true positivity rate for the entire community in those areas.
Harrisonburg and Rockingham reported nine and seven new cases, respectively, over the last three days. VDH removed two cases of the virus from Rockingham’s total on Monday; however no reason was given for the adjustment. Between the two jurisdictions, only one hospitalization was reported over the weekend, and no pandemic-related deaths.
Statewide, 354 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday. That followed 639 new cases on Sunday and 716 on Saturday. The two days of declines stand in contrast to the three days of increases that preceded it.
During the month of June, Virginia has seen new cases rise and fall, and then rise and fall again — but the daily increases have remained in the 450 to 650 range. In April, the trend was much the same, but new cases started to trend upward in late April and exceeded more than 1,000 per day nine times in May. Virginia recorded a high of 1,615 new cases on May 26.
That figure seems low compared to the current state of California, Texas, Arizona and Florida, which have been setting new records almost daily. While California and Texas were breaking new ground by surpassing 5,000 and then 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day — on July 4, Florida reported a new high of 11,458 new cases in 24 hours.
The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported Friday that 783 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That figure is down nine from yesterday, and down 35 since Friday. Among those hospitalized, 194 are in intensive care, according to VHHA — down 13 since Friday. Currently, there are 86 patients statewide on ventilators — that figure is down nine since Friday.
Since the pandemic began, VHHA also reports that 8,809 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.
While VDH reported four COVID-19 deaths on both Saturday and Sunday, there were no deaths reported on Monday. That has not happened since the earliest days of the pandemic in late March. The first COVID-19 death in Virginia was reported on March 14. Since then 1,853 people in Virginia have died from COVID-19.