By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Dec. 31 — For the first time during a pandemic that has now stretched out over 10 months, Virginia reported more than 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day. Thursday’s statewide report included no disclaimer of a system glitch; no mention of a data backlog.
The commonwealth has surpassed the 4,000-case mark only nine times during the pandemic — all since Dec. 9, including seven of the last 11 days. The highest one-day count for the state during the spring surge was 1,615 new cases reported on May 26.
Virginia’s seven-day positivity rate continues to climb and currently stands at 13.2 percent, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Just after Thanksgiving, that rate stood at 7.3 percent.
On Thursday, the state health department reported 5,239 new cases of COVID-19, along with 131 new hospitalizations and 48 new deaths.
The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported on Thursday that a total of 2,744 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results — once again, the highest level since the pandemic began, and it represents an increase of 37 since yesterday.
The total number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Virginia surpassed 2,000 for the first time on Dec. 9 and has risen 709 (or 35 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, 525 are currently in intensive care being treated for COVID-19 — down 28 from yesterday. There are 328 COVID-19 patients statewide on ventilators — down two from yesterday. Currently, 82 percent of the ICU beds in the state are occupied.
Since the pandemic hit Virginia, VHHA reports that 30,707 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.
As of Thursday morning, 64,882 people in Virginia had been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, among the 388,100 doses that have been distributed to facilities and agencies across the state.
The state health department has reported 171 deaths related to the pandemic in the last three days. Virginia surpassed the 5,000-death mark on Thursday, after surpassing 4,000 the day before Thanksgiving. A total of 5,032 people in Virginia have died from COVID-19 since March 14.
In Page County, the state health department reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. The county has seen a total of 47 cases of the virus since Christmas, but no hospitalizations have been reported in more than a week and no deaths since Dec. 2.
Page County’s seven-day positivity rate is at its highest level of the pandemic at 22.5 percent, according to Daily Locality Metrics data provided on the VDH website. On Nov. 16, that rate stood at 3.4 percent.
According to ZIP code data provided by VDH, Thursday’s new cases of COVID-19 reported in Page County surfaced almost entirely in the Luray area (22835), with one case reported in the Stanley area (22851).
Across the Lord Fairfax Health District, a total of 82 new cases of the virus were reported on Thursday — marking only the sixth time in December that the district has reported less than 100 new cases. Frederick County reported 29 cases on Thursday, while the county seat of Winchester added a dozen. The two localities were the only ones in the district to report a new hospitalization on Thursday. Shenandoah County had 18 new cases.
After reporting five new deaths on Tuesday, the health district reported four more fatalities on Thursday due to the pandemic. Winchester reported its ninth and 10th deaths from the coronavirus, while Shenandoah County saw its 73rd fatality and Frederick County reported its 28th.
A cumulative breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 10,329 reported cases, 522 hospitalizations and 182 deaths is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 3,732 — Frederick County (143-28)
- 2,204 — Shenandoah County (141-73)
- 1,649 — City of Winchester (76-10)
- 1,329 — Warren County (69-33)
- 1,026 — Page County (72-33)
- 389 — Clarke County (21-5)
On Thursday, Harrisonburg reported 41 new cases of COVID-19, while Rockingham County had 77. Rockingham also reported three hospitalizations and one death.