By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Nov. 16 — The Virginia Department of Health has reported more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day on only three occasions since the pandemic first hit the commonwealth in mid-February — two of those have occurred in the last 10 days.
On Monday, the state health department reported 2,677 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Virginia — by far, the highest one-day total. It surpassed the previous record-high of 2,103 set on Saturday, Nov. 7 by more than 27 percent.
The only other time the daily case count even approached that level was on Aug. 7, when 2,015 new cases of COVID-19 were reported statewide. However, it should be noted that the peaks seen on Aug. 7 and this morning (Nov. 16) have come with a caveat — the state health department reported both times that the influx of new cases was prompted by a “data backlog”, which caused a wave of new cases to be reported at one time.
“The 2,677 case count reported on Monday, November 16 is due to a catch-up from the VDH data system being down for upgrades for a few hours over the weekend,” read a notice in red type on the VDH website Monday morning. “A reminder: cases are not reported on the day the patient became ill, but on the day they have been classified as meeting the case definition for COVID-19. In order to observe the spread of illness most effectively, please review the charts that show cases by date of symptom onset.”
When Virginia first passed the 2,000-case milestone for daily reports in early August, the seven-day average at that time for new cases was 1,142 per day. A few days before and a few days after the Aug. 7 peak, the daily case count was under 1,000.
Since late May, minus a few brief spikes, the daily average case count had remained mostly under 1,000 in Virginia until mid-October. Currently, the daily case count in the commonwealth has exceeded 1,000 for 21 consecutive days. The peak of 2,103 new cases on Nov. 7 came with no notice of a “data backlog,” and the current seven-day average for new cases is 1,594 per day.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate reached 7.3 percent on Monday, after sitting at about 4.5 percent in mid-October.
While cases soar across the state, new hospitalizations slowed slightly over the last two days after a peak of 72 on Saturday. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported on Monday that 1,337 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That’s the highest level since Aug. 7 and an increase of 53 from just yesterday.
Among those hospitalized, 263 are currently in intensive care being treated for COVID-19 statewide, according to VHHA — up 11 from yesterday. Currently, there are 118 COVID-19 patients statewide on ventilators — down two from yesterday, but up three from Friday.
Since the pandemic hit Virginia, VHHA reports that 22,362 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.
The state health department reported six new deaths related to COVID-19 on Monday, after only reporting one on Sunday. After a recent peak of 27 deaths reported on Friday, fatalities have declined for three days. A total of 3,806 people in Virginia have now died from COVID-19 since March.
The Lord Fairfax Health District reported 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, after reporting 38 on Sunday. That represented a decline after the district hit a high of 80 new cases reported on Saturday — the highest mark since the pandemic hit the region in March.
Frederick County reported a spike of 70 new cases in two days over Friday and Saturday. The case count subsided to 19 on Sunday and 18 Monday, but Frederick still leads the health district with 107 cases of COVID-19 reported in the last four days. The county also reported four hospitalizations over the weekend, but no deaths have been reported since the county saw its 16th pandemic fatality on Friday.
Shenandoah County has reported 35 new cases of the virus since Friday, with one new hospitalization on Saturday. Winchester reported 27 new cases over the weekend, but no hospitalizations or deaths.
Warren County has reported 12 new cases and one hospitalization in the past three days, while Clarke had six cases and one hospitalization. Warren also had one fatality removed from its cumulative total, leaving the county’s death total at 24.
Page County has seen a distinct drop-off in new cases after a small spike last week. From Monday through Friday of last week, Page reported 22 new cases of COVID-19. Since Friday, the county has only seen two new cases, both reported on Monday. No cases of the coronavirus were reported over the weekend. Page did have one new hospitalization reported on Monday.
The decline in new cases has dropped Page County’s 14-day positivity rate to 3.4 percent, according to School Metrics data on the VDH website.
A cumulative breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 4,828 reported cases, 391 hospitalizations and 138 deaths is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 1,499 — Frederick County (105-16)
- 1,179 — Shenandoah County (110-61)
- 772 — City of Winchester (48-4)
- 697 — Warren County (51-24)
- 526 — Page County (58-31)
- 155 — Clarke County (19-2)