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UPDATED: Despite surge in Hampton Roads, Fauquier’s COVID-19 numbers stable

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Driven by a resurgence of new cases in the Hampton Roads area, the Virginia Department of Health has reported a significant and sustained uptick in the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state recently. The numbers in Fauquier County, however, appear to be more stable. 

As of Friday, July 17, Virginia has reported at least 800 new cases per day for eight consecutive days. Before July 10, when the current spike in cases began, Virginia had not reported more than 800 cases in one day since June 7, when 1,284 cases were added. 

The recent rise is largely the result of newly reported cases in the southeastern corner of the state. Combined, the cities of Virginia Beach and Norfolk have accounted for 21% of all new cases in Virginia from July 10 onward, despite making up less than 9% of the state’s population. Each city has more than doubled its cumulative reported case count since the beginning of the month. 

As of Friday, July 17, Virginia has reported 75,433 cases of the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began, of which 72,516 are confirmed cases and 2,917 are “probable” cases. 

Local cases: Fauquier County has reported a total of 40 cases in the week since July 10, four fewer than in the previous week. The cumulative total number of cases for county residents now stands at 511. 

Three new hospitalizations of county residents have been reported since July 10, bringing the cumulative total to 32.

No new deaths among county residents have been reported since July 7; since the pandemic began, eight residents have died with COVID-19. 

New reported hospitalizations have risen recently in Virginia as a whole, though not as dramatically as reported new cases. In the week since July 10, 412 hospitalizations have been reported, compared to 293 during the previous week. A cumulative total of 7,087 hospitalizations has been reported among Virginia residents. 

The number of reported deaths in the state, however, actually declined during the most recent week, with 55 deaths reported since July 10, down from 113 the previous week. Since the pandemic began, 2,013 Virginia residents have died from complications of COVID-19. 

Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District Health Director Dr. Wade Kartchner cautioned in July 14 letter that the number of reported deaths during any given time period is not an accurate real-time indicator of severity of the virus. Deaths are listed by the health department by the day they are recorded, not necessarily by the day a person died. 

“[T]his is largely because there are folks assigned in our central office in Richmond who are combing through death certificate data and these deaths are added to the death totals on the day they are discovered, not when the death occurred,” Kartchner said. “From an epidemiology point of view, this is not useful and can be misleading.”

While the number of tests conducted around the state has steadily increased since the pandemic began, the recent spike in cases has corresponded with a rise in the percentage of tests coming back positive for the novel coronavirus. 

After peaking at 20.8% on April 21, the state’s seven-day average percent-positivity rate dropped to as low as 5.8% as of June 23. The rate has crept higher since then and now stands at 7.6%. 

The increase in percent-positivity has also been driven largely by data from southeastern Virginia. In Virginia Beach, for instance, the seven-day average percent-positivity rate jumped from 3.1% as of June 27 to 11.6%. In the same time period, Norfolk’s percent-positivity rate grew from 8.8% to 15.7%. 

The Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, which includes Fauquier County, is reporting a percent-positivity rate of 4.8%. Previously, the rate had fallen as low as 1.7% as of July 1.

Tuesday, July 14: Fauquier cases tick up but far below May peak

Fauquier County reported 47 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, an increase of 17 over the previous seven-day period, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

No new COVID-19 cases were reported in Fauquier on Tuesday, July 14. The county has logged a total of 497 cases since the pandemic began. 

The recent upward trend in local cases, however, has not reached the numbers seen during the May peak, when 70 new cases were reported locally in one week. The Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, of which Fauquier is a part, has been conducting about 181 COVID-19 tests daily and is reporting an average percent-positivity rate of 4.6%. 

Fauquier reported two additional hospitalizations over the weekend, but no new COVID-related deaths have been reported in the county since July 4. 

A total of 31 county residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and eight residents have died. 

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported statewide rose significantly this week, with 5,703 new cases added in the second week of July, compared to 3,953 new cases in the previous seven days. Almost 72,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Virginia since the pandemic began. 

So far, there has not been a corresponding increase in hospitalizations and deaths, both of which are far below April and May peaks. 

Virginia reported 305 hospitalizations and 96 deaths during the seven days ending July 14, compared to 309 hospitalizations and 118 deaths the previous week. 

As of Tuesday, Virginia reported 72,443 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 as well as a total of 6,817 hospitalizations and 1,977 deaths.

Rappahannock-Rapidan Health Director Dr. Wade Kartchner cautioned in a July 14 letter that mortality data is not necessarily updated in real time. 

“[A]nalysis of death certificates will continue moving forward and there will likely be additional aged-deaths added to the database retrospectively,” he wrote. “This is largely because there are folks assigned in our central office in Richmond who are combing through death certificate data and these deaths are added to the death totals on the day they are discovered, not when the death occurred.”

Number of tests steadily increases, but percent-positivity rate also rises

The number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests – these are the tests that look for an active COVID-19 infection in the body, not the presence of antibodies – conducted in the state and in the local health district have increased significantly over the course of the pandemic. 

As of May 1, the seven-day moving average of PCR tests conducted daily statewide was 6,611. Most recently, as of July 10, the seven-day moving average was almost twice that number, at 12,606.

However, the percent-positivity rate, which measures the total number of PCR tests against the number of positive test results, has crept upward recently in both Virginia as a whole and in the local health district

In Virginia, seven-day moving average positivity rate was 6.9% as of July 10, the most recent date for which the rate is available. While this rate is down significantly from an April 18 peak of 20.8%, the rate had previously dropped to 5.9% as of June 24. 

The average positivity rate for the local health district has spiked more significantly than the state’s rate since the beginning of July, but it is still well below the state average. After peaking at 23.3% on May 8, the seven-day moving average declined to 1.7% by July 1, but it has since risen to 4.6% as of July 10.

 

Friday, July 10: Virginia reports highest number of new COVID-19 cases since June 7

On Friday, the Virginia Department of Health reported 943 new cases of COVID-19 across the state, the highest one-day total since June 7.

The increase comes after the number of cases had been holding relatively steady, with 354 cases reported Monday; 638 on Tuesday; 635 on Wednesday and 613 on Thursday. Since the start of the pandemic, 68,931 cases have been reported in Virginia, including 2,836 “probable” cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

The percent-positivity rate, which measures the total number of COVID-19 tests against the number of positive results, has also crept upward recently. On June 21 the positivity rate was 5.9%, down from an April 18 peak of 20.8%. The rate had increased to 6.3% by July 6, the most recent date for which it is available. 

The number of hospitalizations, a lagging indicator of the spread of the virus, is down slightly since rising this week. On Friday, 50 new hospitalizations were reported in the state, compared with 48 on Thursday, 65 on Wednesday, 77 on Tuesday and just 17 on Monday. 

On Monday this week, for the first time since early April, no new deaths were reported in the state. However, on Tuesday, 28 deaths were added, 24 on Wednesday, 32 on Thursday and 21 on Friday. The number of deaths reported daily in the state reached a peak in May, with 57 fatalities recorded May 28. Since then, the number has generally declined, but that decline has slowed in recent weeks. 

Though far below peak, number of new cases rising in Fauquier County

Fauquier County added 29 new cases over the past week: 11 on Friday, five each on Thursday and Wednesday and four each on Tuesday and Monday. 

While lower than local cases reported in May, when the number of new daily cases in the county peaked at 20 on May 19, the new daily cases numbers represent a significant increase from the last week of June, when the county went several days without reporting a new case. The county has seen 471 cases since the pandemic began. 

No new hospitalizations have been reported since Tuesday, when the 29th hospitalization of a county resident was reported. Fauquier also reported its eighth death on Tuesday. 

The percent-positivity rate for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, which includes Fauquier County, has increased since the beginning of July, though the rate is still below the statewide rate.

On July 1, the local percent-positivity rate reached a low of 1.7%. Since then the rate has steadily risen, reaching 4.1% on July 6.

Weekly UVA model reports increasing COVID-19 activity

The weekly report from the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute released Friday said, “Over the past two weeks, a number of indicators have paused or worsened.”

It cited specifically the rising reproduction rate – the average number of people who become infected by a person who is already infected – and percent-positivity rate. 

“Hospitalizations are also beginning to creep upward, particularly outside of Northern Virginia,” the report added. 

“It is difficult to identify what is driving these changes,” the report explained, “but they are widespread. States that reopened early tended to experience surges four to six weeks after reopening, corresponding with the summer vacation season and [Independence Day] holiday.”

The Institute’s model estimated that “Virginia’s cautious approach to reopening” prevented 495,799 confirmed cases since May 15. 

“Unlike some other states in the nation, Virginia has not experienced a recent surge in cases,” the report said, but urged residents to continue following public health protocols. “Proper social distancing and infection control, including wearing a mask and handwashing, are essential to keeping Virginia open.”

Tuesday, July 7: Fauquier County loses eighth resident to COVID-19

The Virginia Department of Health announced Tuesday that an eighth Fauquier County resident has died from COVID-19. The seventh death was reported July 1. The VDH also reported that one more county resident has been hospitalized with COVID-19, for a total of 28.

The county added four cases of COVID-19 Tuesday morning, after adding four Monday and 11 on Sunday. The total number of positive cases in Fauquier since the beginning of the pandemic is 450.

Virginia added 638 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, after counting only 354 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. Six hundred and thirty-nine new cases were reported Sunday and 716 new cases Saturday --  the highest number of new cases since June 7, when the one-day total of new cases was 1,284.

Sunday morning COVID-19 reporting from the Virginia Department of Health showed that the 7-day positivity rate (total tests compared to positive tests) for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District (which includes Fauquier, Rappahannock, Orange, Madison and Culpeper counties) was at a new low of 1.7%, a significant drop from Thursday’s 3.2%. It rose again to 2.3% Monday morning and 2.8% Tuesday.

The health district has seen a total of 1,509 cases, 113 hospitalizations and 23 deaths. Among the counties in the health district, Culpeper has seen the most cases (829), hospitalizations (63) and deaths (11).

The local district has not had a new outbreak of cases for several weeks. 

The state’s seven-day positivity rate is at 6.0%. It has hovered at or near that number for a week or so. In total, Virginia has had 66,1740 cases to date, with 6,512 hospitalizations.

The death toll in the state is 1,881, with 106 of those deaths labeled probable for the coronavirus. Twenty-eight new deaths have been reported since Monday. No new deaths in Virginia were reported Monday morning, something that hasn’t happened since April 5.

All data presented here is as of Monday, July 5, at 5 p.m. More information is available at the VDH website. A page that answers questions on the virus and lists testing sites can be found at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck/

The long view

On Friday afternoon each week, the Virginia Department of Health provides a summary of the fight against COVID-19 based on the week’s numbers and modeling of various scenarios provided by the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute.

A summary of this week’s narrative from the VDH, released July 3, states:

  • Cases in Virginia remain stable, even as other areas of the country begin to experience a surge.
  • However, the decline has slowed and signs of growth have emerged as some health districts have increased activity.
  • Continued emphasis on test and trace strategies, early detection, and social distancing remain essential.
  • Much uncertainty surrounds the risk of a second wave as Virginia enters Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia plan.
  • Statewide, the transmission rate increased over the past week but remains below 1.0.

MONDAY, JULY 6: Virginia added only 354 new cases of COVID-19 Monday morning, after adding 639 new cases Sunday and 716 new cases Saturday --  the highest number of new cases since June 7, when the one-day total of new cases was 1,284.

Sunday morning COVID-19 reporting from the Virginia Department of Health showed that the 7-day positivity rate (total tests compared to positive tests) for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District (which includes Fauquier, Rappahannock, Orange, Madison and Culpeper counties) was at a new low of 1.7%, a significant drop from Thursday’s 3.2%. It was 2.3 Monday morning.

The local district has not had a new outbreak of cases for several weeks. 

The state’s seven-day positivity rate is at 6.1%, the same as Sunday. It was as low as 5.9% July 1. In total, Virginia has had 66,102 cases to date, with 6,435 hospitalizations.

The death toll in the state is 1,853, with 106 of those deaths labeled probable for the coronavirus. No new deaths in Virginia were reported Monday morning, something that hasn’t happened since April 5.

covid cases July 6

The health district has seen a total of 1,493 cases, 111 hospitalizations and 22 deaths. Among the counties in the health district, Culpeper has seen the most cases (823), hospitalizations (63) and deaths (11). Fauquier is second, with 446 cases (four more than yesterday), 28 hospitalizations (one more than yesterday) and seven deaths, the last reported Wednesday, July 1. Fauquier added 11 new cases on Sunday and four on Saturday.

All data presented here is as of Sunday, July 5, at 5 p.m. More information is available at the VDH website. A page that answers questions on the virus and lists testing sites can be found at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck/

The long view

On Friday afternoon each week, the Virginia Department of Health provides a summary of the fight against COVID-19 based on the week’s numbers and modeling of various scenarios provided by the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute.

A summary of this week’s narrative from the VDH, released July 3, states:

  • Cases in Virginia remain stable, even as other areas of the country begin to experience a surge.
  • However, the decline has slowed and signs of growth have emerged as some health districts have increased activity.
  • Continued emphasis on test and trace strategies, early detection, and social distancing remain essential.
  • Much uncertainty surrounds the risk of a second wave as Virginia enters Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia plan.
  • Statewide, the transmission rate increased over the past week but remains below 1.0.

SUNDAY, JULY 5: On Friday afternoon each week, the Virginia Department of Health provides a summary of the fight against COVID-19 based on the week’s numbers and modeling of various scenarios provided by the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute.

A summary of this week’s narrative from the VDH, released July 3, states:

  • Cases in Virginia remain stable, even as other areas of the country begin to experience a surge.
  • However, the decline has slowed and signs of growth have emerged as some health districts have increased activity.
  • Continued emphasis on test and trace strategies, early detection, and social distancing remain essential.
  • Much uncertainty surrounds the risk of a second wave as Virginia enters Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia plan.
  • Statewide, the transmission rate increased over the past week but remains below 1.0.

Data released July 5

Virginia added 639 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday morning, after adding 716 new cases Saturday --  the highest number of new cases since June 7, when the one-day total of new cases was 1,284. On Friday, new cases totaled 658. The state added 532 cases Thursday, 416 new cases Wednesday and 598 cases Tuesday.

Sunday morning COVID-19 reporting from the Virginia Department of Health shows that the 7-day positivity rate (total tests compared to positive tests) for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District (which includes Fauquier, Rappahannock, Orange, Madison and Culpeper counties) is at a new low of 1.7%, a significant drop from Thursday’s 3.2%. It was 2.3 Friday and 2.0% Saturday.

The local district has not had a new outbreak of cases for several weeks. 

The state’s seven-day positivity rate had been 6.2% since Thursday, but dropped slightly to 6.1% Sunday. It was 6.1% Wednesday, 6.0% on Tuesday and 5.9% Monday. In total, Virginia has had 65,748 cases to date, with 6,418 hospitalizations.

The death toll in the state is 1,853, with 107 of those deaths labeled probable for the coronavirus. The state counted four more Virginians dead since yesterday’s reporting.

The health district has seen a total of 1,484 cases, 109 hospitalizations and 22 deaths. Among the counties in the health district, Culpeper has seen the most cases (822), hospitalizations (63) and deaths (11). Fauquier is second, with 442 cases (11 more than yesterday), 27 hospitalizations and seven deaths, the last reported Wednesday, July 1. Fauquier added three new cases Tuesday for a total of 420, and held steady on Wednesday. Fauquier reported one more case Thursday, six more on Friday and four on Saturday.

All data presented here is as of Saturday, July 4, at 5 p.m. More information is available at the VDH website. A page that answers questions on the virus and lists testing sites can be found at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck/

SATURDAY, JULY 4: On Friday afternoon each week, the Virginia Department of Health provides a summary of the fight against COVID-19 based on the week’s numbers and modeling of various scenarios provided by the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute.

A summary of this week’s narrative from the VDH, released July 3, states:

  • Cases in Virginia remain stable, even as other areas of the country begin to experience a surge.
  • However, the decline has slowed and signs of growth have emerged as some health districts have increased activity.
  • Continued emphasis on test and trace strategies, early detection, and social distancing remain essential.
  • Much uncertainty surrounds the risk of a second wave as Virginia enters Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia plan.
  • Statewide, the transmission rate increased over the past week but remains below 1.0.

Virginia added 716 new cases Saturday morning, the highest number of new cases since June 7, when the one-day total of new cases was 1,284. Virginia had been able to keep new cases below 600 this week, until yesterday, when new cases totaled 658. The state added 532 cases Thursday, 416 new cases Wednesday and 598 cases Tuesday.

Saturday morning COVID-19 reporting from the Virginia Department of Health shows that the 7-day positivity rate (total tests compared to positive tests) for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District (which includes Fauquier, Rappahannock, Orange, Madison and Culpeper counties) is at a new low of 2.0, a significant drop from Thursday’s 3.2%. It was 2.3 Friday.

The local district has not had a new outbreak of cases for several weeks. 

The state’s seven-day positivity rate is the same as it has been since Thursday, 6.2%. It was 6.1% Wednesday, 6.0% on Tuesday and 5.9% Monday. In total, Virginia has had 65,109 cases to date, with 6,405 hospitalizations.

The death toll in the state is 1,849, with 104 of those deaths labeled probable for the coronavirus. The state counted four more Virginians dead since yesterday’s reporting.

The health district has seen a total of 1,466 cases, 109 hospitalizations and 22 deaths. Among the counties in the health district, Culpeper has seen the most cases (817), hospitalizations (63) and deaths (11). Fauquier is second, with 431 cases (four more than yesterday), 27 hospitalizations and seven deaths, the last reported Wednesday. Fauquier added three new cases Tuesday for a total of 420, and held steady on Wednesday. Fauquier reported one more case Thursday and six more on Friday.

More information is available at the VDH website. A page that answers questions on the virus and lists testing sites can be found at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck/.

FRIDAY, JULY 3: Friday morning COVID-19 reporting from the Virginia Department of Health shows that the 7-day positivity rate (total tests compared to positive tests) for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District (which includes Fauquier, Rappahannock, Orange, Madison and Culpeper counties) is at a new low of 2.3, a significant drop from yesterday’s 3.2%. The rate was 2.7% Tuesday morning, but bounced up to 3.1% Wednesday.

The local district has not had a new outbreak of cases for several weeks. 

The state’s seven-day positivity rate is the same as yesterday’s, 6.2%. It was 6.1% Wednesday, 6.0% on Tuesday and 5.9% Monday. In total, Virginia has had 64,393 cases to date, with 6,382 hospitalizations. The death toll in the state is 1,845, with 104 of those deaths labeled probable for the coronavirus. The state counted 29 more Virginians dead since yesterday’s reporting.

The health district has seen a total of 1,457 cases, 109 hospitalizations and 22 deaths. Among the counties in the health district, Culpeper has seen the most cases (814), hospitalizations (63) and deaths (11). Fauquier is second, with 427 cases (six more than yesterday), 27 hospitalizations and seven deaths, the last reported Wednesday. Fauquier added three new cases Tuesday for a total of 420, and held steady on Wednesday. Fauquier reported one more case Thursday.

Virginia had been able to keep new cases below 600 this week, until today, when new cases totaled 658. The state added 532 cases Thursday, 416 new cases Wednesday and 598 cases Tuesday. Six hundred new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday, June 26, and 677 cases on Saturday.

More information is available at the VDH website. A page that answers questions on the virus and lists testing sites can be found at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck/.

THURSDAY, JULY 2: Thursday morning COVID-19 reporting from the Virginia Department of Health shows that the 7-day positivity rate (total tests compared to positive tests) for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District (which includes Fauquier, Rappahannock, Orange, Madison and Culpeper counties) is at 3.2%. The rate hit a low of 2.7% Tuesday morning, but bounced up to 3.1% Wednesday. The local district has not had a new outbreak of cases for several weeks. 

The state’s seven-day positivity rate is slowing ticking up as well. It stood at 6.2% Thursday, 6.1% Wednesday, 6.0% on Tuesday and 5.9% Monday. In total, Virginia has had 63,735 cases to date, with 6,333 hospitalizations. The death toll in the state is 1,816, with 104 of those deaths labeled probable for the coronavirus. The state counted 30 Virginians dead since yesterday’s reporting.

The health district has seen a total of 1,448 cases, 109 hospitalizations and 22 deaths. Among the counties in the health district, Culpeper has seen the most cases (812), hospitalizations (63) and deaths (11). Fauquier is second, with 421 cases, 27 hospitalizations and seven deaths, the last reported yesterday. Fauquier, after remaining at 417 for several days, added three new cases Tuesday and maintained at 420 for Wednesday. Fauquier reported one more case Thursday for the new total of 421.

Virginia has been able to keep new cases below 600 since Saturday. The state added 532 cases Thursday, 416 new cases Wednesday and 598 cases Tuesday. Six hundred new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday, June 26, and 677 cases on Saturday.

The RRHD held a free testing event in Warrenton Saturday, June 20, but did not see a spike in cases as a result. When Culpeper held a similar event, cases rose significantly several days later. Dr. Wade Kartchner, health director of the RRHD explained, “The main difference is that Culpeper's testing was done specifically looking to test ill persons. The Fauquier testing was open to all comers. If you test people who are sick, you'll find cases. If you test those who are not, you won't.” 

More information is available at the VDH website. 

 

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