Warren County sees spike in new cases after mass testing at regional jail

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COVID-19 Coronavirus in Page County, Virginia
Page Valley News will have continuing coverage of the Coronavirus' impact on Page County.

By Randy Arrington

LURAY, June 3 — On Friday, the Virginia Department of Health and the National Guard conducted a point prevalence survey at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail just north of Front Royal. 

Five days later, VDH is reporting a one-day, 23-percent increase in new cases of COVID-19 in Warren County. The 38 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported on Wednesday, brings Warren’s total to 204. Since the pandemic began, Warren has seen 15 people hospitalized and three related fatalities.

However, despite the spike in new cases in Warren County, RSW regional jail is reporting an even higher number of positive test results, which could mean Warren’s numbers will climb even higher over the next few days.

“The PPS allowed for testing of all staff and inmates to give a better understanding of where the virus may have spread within the facility. Late last night, June 1, 2020, we received the full results,” reads the statement from RSW posted on its website. 

RSW’s June 1 report reads as follows:

  • [Four] staff members tested positive. They were immediately notified and will be isolating at their homes.
  • 92 staff members tested negative.
  • 62 inmates that are currently still incarcerated tested positive. 
  • [One] additional inmate tested positive, but was booked in and released the same day on May 29, 2020.
  • 269 inmates tested negative.
  • A total of 428 tests were administered.

“We are in the process of notifying all the inmates of their status and are reviewing the information and working to ensure positive inmates are properly isolated and monitored,” the RSW statement continued.

As of the last report in late May from Page County Sheriff Chad Cubbage, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in the Page County Jail. However, at least 44 inmates from Page County were being held at RSW, according to the sheriff.

Across the rest of the Lord Fairfax Health District, new cases have tapered off this week. Outside of Warren’s 38 new cases, the remainder of the district only reported 11, with the majority (seven) cropping up in Frederick County. Winchester saw two new cases, while Clarke and Page counties each had one. The new case in Page was reported in the Luray area (ZIP code 22835).

Shenandoah County, which leads the district in most pandemic categories, saw no change in its data overnight.

Wednesday’s report only showed two new hospitalizations within the health district, one each in Frederick and Warren counties. One new death was reported in Warren.

A breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 1,505 total cases is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):

  • 465 — Shenandoah County (45-22)
  • 378 — Frederick County (24-4)
  • 231 — Page County (26-24)
  • 204 — Warren County (15-3)
  • 198 — City of Winchester (12-2)
  • 29 — Clarke County (3-0)

VDH reports that 10,766 tests have been administered within the Lord Fairfax Health District. That stands eighth among 35 health districts in the state. The seven-day average for those tests show a 14.4 percent positivity rate. One week ago, the health district was reporting a positivity rate of 29.2 percent.

Across the Massanutten, Harrisonburg saw 10 new cases overnight, while Rockingham County reported three. There were four new hospitalizations between the two jurisdictions, with three in Harrisonburg. There were no new deaths.

Statewide, 666 new cases were reported Wednesday. That represents a fourth consecutive day with less than 1,000 reported new cases. However, the lower number of new cases on Wednesday is partially due to less than 4,000 tests being administered on Tuesday. Far below the 10,000-tests-per-day mark the state set for itself, and lower than its recent daily average, which was approaching 10,000.

The seven-day average positivity rate for statewide testing is currently at 14.4 percent. One week ago that figure stood at 13.8 percent.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported today that 1,311 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That figure is down 51 from yesterday and has dropped by 213 over five days. Among those hospitalized, 313 are in intensive care (down 23 from yesterday and down 60 over five days) and 185 are on ventilators (down one from yesterday and down eight over five days).

Since the pandemic began, VHHA also reports that 6,165 people who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and were hospitalized, have been discharged.

VDH reported 21 new deaths in Virginia on Wednesday. That brings the state’s total to 1,428 people who have died from COVID-19 since the first fatality was reported on March 14.

Governor Ralph Northam is opening up the state even more this Friday, as Virginia enters Phase II of reopening plans. Among the criteria for Phase II:

  • Public gatherings limited to 50 people (was 10 under Phase I);
  • Restaurants allowed up to 50 percent occupancy;
  • Gyms and indoor recreation allowed 30 percent occupancy;
  • Some outdoor entertainment may reopen (such as zoos, gardens and museums). 

For a full list of Phase II guidelines go to: 

https://tinyurl.com/y8z2xquc

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