By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Dec. 23 — For only the fourth time since the pandemic reached the commonwealth in mid-February, the Virginia Department of Health reported more than 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. All four record days have been reported in the last two weeks, with Wednesday’s new record-high reaching 4,652 cases in a single day.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate has risen to 11.6 percent. The state also reached a new record-high in hospitalizations, with 188 reported Wednesday, along with 55 new deaths.
The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported on Wednesday that a total of 2,586 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That figure sets yet another state record and marks an increase of 237 over 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 551 (or 27 percent) in the past two weeks.
Among those hospitalized statewide, 532 are currently in intensive care being treated for COVID-19 — up 42 from a week ago. There are 290 COVID-19 patients statewide on ventilators — an increase of 44 in the past seven days. Overall, Virginia’s ICU bed occupancy stands at 81 percent.
Since the pandemic hit Virginia, VHHA reports that 28,330 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.
The state health department reported 55 deaths related to the pandemic on Wednesday, after reporting 51 on Tuesday. Virginia surpassed the 4,000-death mark the day before Thanksgiving and currently reports a total of 4,760 people have died from COVID-19 since March 14.
After seeing only six new cases of COVID-19 surface on Tuesday, VDH reported 17 new cases of the virus and two new hospitalizations in Page County on Wednesday. Both days follow Monday’s record-high of 76 new cases — far exceeding the 52 cases reported on April 25 (the previous record) when an outbreak of the coronavirus spread through a longterm care facility in Luray.
Page County’s seven-day positivity rate has now climbed to 21.2 percent, according to Daily Locality Metrics data provided on the VDH website. That marks the highest positivity rate the county has reported since the pandemic began, and according to the state health department, Page’s positivity rate has been rising for 48 days. The county’s 14-day positivity rate is now 18.3 percent, according to School Metrics data on the VDH site.
The VDH website was later than usual in posting updated data on Wednesday (typically posted by 9 or 10 a.m.) and had not posted updated ZIP code data as of midday (when this story was published). Therefore, a breakdown of Page County’s 23 new cases in the last two days can not be provided at this time.
The Lord Fairfax Health District reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, along with 10 hospitalizations (one-day record) and two deaths. Frederick County reported 42 cases today, while Shenandoah County had 32, Winchester reported 22 and Warren County added 18.
Winchester reported five hospitalizations on Wednesday — the city’s first hospitalizations in almost two weeks. Frederick and Page counties each reported two hospitalizations, while Warren County had one.
Shenandoah County reported its 70th fatality from the pandemic this morning, while Winchester reported its seventh COVID-related death. Clarke County reported its fifth death from the virus on Tuesday.
A cumulative breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 9,290 reported cases, 508 hospitalizations and 170 deaths is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 3,347 — Frederick County (137-24)
- 1,959 — Shenandoah County (137-70)
- 1,506 — City of Winchester (75-7)
- 1,194 — Warren County (67-31)
- 960 — Page County (72-33)
- 324 — Clarke County (20-5)
Harrisonburg has reported 44 new cases of COVID-19 over the last two days, while Rockingham County had 58. Harrisonburg also reported three new hospitalizations on Tuesday, while Rockingham had four on Tuesday and two on Wednesday. Neither locality has reported a pandemic death in eight days.