By Randy Arrington
LURAY, May 22 — Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Virginia in mid-February (with the first case reported March 7), the City of Winchester had not seen a single day with double-digit gains in new cases until Tuesday.
Winchester has made a slow climb to a total of 121 cases of COVID-19 since late March. However, given the population of the Frederick County seat, Winchester has done well to report only seven hospitalizations and only one death.
All of that changed this past week, as Winchester reported 37 new cases of the novel coronavirus in just four days.
While Frederick County reported only four new cases on Friday morning, Winchester saw 11 new cases surface. Despite the rise in new cases, Winchester has not reported any hospitalizations in the last four days, and the only fatality in the city related to COVID-19 was reported on May 12.
The Virginia Department of Health reported a total of 26 new cases spread across the Lord Fairfax Health District on Friday. Five of the six jurisdictions within the health district saw new cases crop up, with Warren County being the exception.
Page County saw six new cases of COVID-19 reported on Friday, as well as one of the health district’s three new hospitalizations (Clarke and Warren had the other two).
A ZIP code breakdown provided by VDH indicates that five of the new cases reported in Page County on Friday are from the Luray area, and one is from the Stanley area. As of Friday morning, here’s a cumulative look at how the cases and testing breakdown in Page :
- ZIP code 22835 (Luray) — 106 cases, 258 tested;
- ZIP code 22851 (Stanley) — 50 cases; 115 tested;
- ZIP code 22849 (Shenandoah) — 11 cases; 94 tested.
It should be noted that the Rileyville area in northern Page County (ZIP code 22650) has not been included in this reporting because data for sparsely populated ZIP codes (like Rileyville) is suppressed by VDH. State officials fear that providing that data in small areas with few cases could reveal the identity of those who are sick, and thus potentially violate strict privacy laws.
However, while the number of cases is not being provided, VDH does report that 11 people in the Rileyville area (ZIP code 22650) have been tested for COVID-19.
No new deaths related to the pandemic were reported in the health district on Friday. A breakdown by jurisdiction of the health district’s 1,039 total cases is as follows (hospitalizations – deaths):
- 358 — Shenandoah County (34-12)
- 249 — Frederick County (20-3)
- 172 — Page County (20-19)
- 121 — City of Winchester (7-1)
- 110 — Warren County (12-2)
- 21 — Clarke County (3-0)
The City of Harrisonburg has surpassed 700 cases of COVID-19 as nine new cases were reported overnight, bringing the city’s total to 704. Rockingham County reported 10 new cases on Friday, but there was only one new hospitalization and no new deaths between the two jurisdictions.
After posting a record-high for new cases on Thursday for the state and its pandemic epicenter in Fairfax, both showed dramatic drop-offs in new cases on Friday.
Statewide, 813 new cases were reported by VDH on Friday, compared to 1,229 the day before. In Fairfax, the daily increase in new cases went from 417 on Thursday to 154 on Friday.
The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported on Friday that 1,459 people are currently hospitalized that have either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. That figure is down 32 from yesterday and down 77 over two days. Among those hospitalized, 366 are in intensive care (up 15 from yesterday) and 207 are on ventilators (up 16).
Since the pandemic began, VHHA also reports that 4,963 people have been discharged from state hospitals after being tested, confirmed and treated for COVID-19.
VDH reported another 37 deaths in Virginia related to the pandemic on Friday — the highest one-day increase in 10 days. That brings the state’s total to 1,136 fatalities since the first COVID-19 death was reported on March 14.
Over the past 68 days, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an average of 16.7 lives each day in Virginia.
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