The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fairfax and Loudoun health districts is officially surging, according to new analysis from the University of Virginia, and the Northern Virginia region's overall caseload is at its highest level since it peaked May 31.
The new updates on the spread of the coronavirus come as the Virginia Department of Health reported an additional 2,348 cases on Saturday, increasing the statewide seven-day average of new daily cases to a record 2,125.7. That's up almost 50% from just a week ago.
In Northern Virginia, 666 new cases were reported Saturday, raising the region's seven-day average to 588, the highest since it peaked at 685.3 at the end of May.
U.Va.'s Biocomplexity Institute, which updates its COVID-19 model weekly, says the spike of cases that began in Southwest Virginia several weeks ago is now spreading statewide, with Loudoun and Fairfax among eight health districts in which cases are currently surging.
"For the past several weeks experts have been warning that cold weather, the holidays, and 'COVID fatigue' could result in a surge of COVID-19 cases," the institute wrote. "Unfortunately, these warnings have proven prescient. Cases are surging nationally and growing in Virginia, even before the rapid rise that could occur following Thanksgiving travel and gatherings."
Virginia's average weekly case load of about 21 new cases per 100,000 residents is still among the lowest rates in the country, but the institute warned that could change as cases spread elsewhere.
"In Virginia, case growth continues to defy surges in neighboring states, creeping upward slowly instead," the institute said. "However, there are worrying signs that the exceptionally high incidence occurring in Southwest Virginia and some neighboring states is making its way into more populous regions, including surging cases in Fairfax and Loudoun Health Districts. If this continues, Virginia could quickly join neighboring states with very high incidence."
The institute noted that hospitalizations for treatment of COVID-19 often lag case reports by two to three weeks, yet they have increased statewide this week to over 1,500 patients, the most since the peak of 1,625 in early May. In Northern Virginia, 391 patients were hospitalized Saturday morning, still well below the region's peak of 808 on April 30.
The average daily caseload in Southwest Virginia, the least populated region of the state, continues to rise, although more slowly than earlier this month, and now stands at 548.9.
The state health department reported 26 new deaths on Saturday. Of those, one was in Northern Virginia, in Prince William County.
Northern Virginia data by locality (Nov. 21, 2020)
|OTHER AREA JURISDICTIONS|
The statewide average test positivity rate for diagnostic PCR tests declined slightly Saturday to 6.8%, as the state reported the results of over 35,000 tests.
Seven-day average test positivity rate by health district (Nov. 21, 2020)
|Alexandria||40.1% / April 23||3.2% / Oct. 18||6.1%||Up|
|Arlington||42.8% / April 20||2.4% / June 26||7.4%||Down|
|Fairfax||38.6% / April 22||3.3% / Oct. 16||8.1%||Down|
|Loudoun||27.9% / April 28||4.0% / Sept. 30 & Oct. 3||8.2%||Stable|
|Prince William||36.7% / April 18||5.4% / Oct. 20||10.6%||Down|
|Rappahannock||17.2% / May 8||3.5% / July 3||9.2%||Up|
|Statewide||20.6% / April 22||4.5% / Sept. 30, Oct. 1,2,12 & 13||6.8%||Down|
LATEST COVID-19 DATA
Northern Virginia: 666 new cases, 1 new death.
Statewide: 2,348 new cases, 26 new deaths.
Statewide Testing: 35,503 PCR diagnostic test results reported
Northern Virginia: 67,729 cases, 1,269 deaths
Statewide: 215,679 cases, 3,938 deaths
Statewide Testing: 3.04 million PCR diagnostic tests (3.49 million when including antibody and antigen tests)
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 11
*Provided by Virginia Department of Health. The health department's COVID-19 data is updated each morning by 10 a.m. and includes reports by local health agencies before 5 p.m. the previous day.
Statewide Hospital and Nursing Home Data
Hospitalizations: 1,507 (down from 1,510 the previous day)
Peak Hospitalizations: 1,625 reached May 8
- Patients in ICU: 331 (up from 318 the previous day)
Patients Discharged: 23,053 total
- Nursing Home Patients: 1,092 as of Friday (Saturday report not available)
*Provided by Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
For updated national and international COVID-19 data, visit the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard.