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A year later: The COVID-19 story in Virginia by the numbers

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Virginia covid case average 3.7.21

Virginia's seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases reported peaked first on May 31, then remained relatively stable throughout the summer and early fall before rising again steadily starting in November.  It peaked Jan. 18 and has been falling since.

The news first came in a Tweet from a Pentagon spokesman on the evening of Saturday, March 7, 2020.

Virginia had its first confirmed case of COVID-19.  A U.S. Marine who had recently returned from overseas was being treated for the virus at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fairfax County. 

Within a week, the World Health Organization had declared the novel coronavirus to be a pandemic, schools were being closed, and virtually all major sports events had been canceled.  The stock market appeared be in freefall, and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was quickly ratcheting up restrictions on gatherings and businesses. 

Virginia's shutdown would not begin to be lifted until May 15 and not until May 29 in Northern Virginia, which accounted for 60% of the state's cases in the spring, despite having only about 30% of the state's population.   

A year later, as many COVID restrictions are still in place in Virginia, and schools are only just now starting to slowly reopen, here's a look at some of the numbers behind the virus, based on daily tracking by InsideNoVa:


Virginia has reported a total of 585,700 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, meaning that 1 in every 14 Virginians has had the virus.  Experts generally believe that number is likely higher due to lack of testing in the early weeks of the pandemic and asymptomatic cases.  

Virginia's seven-day average of new daily cases reported, which reduces the impact of one-day fluctuations caused by reporting lags, first peaked May 31 at 1,194.7 cases a day.  It then declined generally through the summer and early fall, although there were small surges in the Eastern Region, including Virginia Beach and Norfolk in the early summer, and hit a low of 747 cases a day on Oct. 1.

From there the average increased steadily through late fall and over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays before peaking on Jan. 18 at 6,166.3 cases a day.  It has declined steadily since then and as of Sunday stood at 1,378.6, still above last spring's peak but at the lowest level since Nov. 6.

Based on the date when patients reported first experiencing symptoms, Virginia's case load peaked Monday, Jan. 4, or exactly 10 days after Christmas.

In Northern Virginia, the story was similar.  Spring cases peaked at an average of 685.3 a day on May 31, then fell throughout the summer and early fall, hitting a low of 139.4 a day on July 12, before beginning to rise again.  The region's average peaked the same day as the state's average, Jan. 18, at 1,628.4 cases a day.  

Since then, it has also fallen steadily and as of Sunday stands at 369 cases a day, well below the highs of last spring and the lowest level since Nov. 9. 

Northern Virginia has reported a total of 161,012 confirmed and probable cases, representing about 27.5% of the state's total.  Based on Northern Virginia's population of just over 2.5 million, that means about 1 in every 15.5 Northern Virginia residents has had the virus.  

(For COVID-19 data purposes, Northern Virginia consists of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties and all the towns within them, as well as the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park.)


The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association began reporting statewide and regional hospital data for COVID-19 in early April.  A total of close to 60,000 Virginians have been or are currently hospitalized for treatment of the virus. Of those, at least 9,596, as of Sunday, have passed away, while the remaining 50,000 recovered and were released. 

That means that about 1 in 10 confirmed cases of the virus resulted in a hospitalization, or about 1 in every 143 Virginians has been hospitalized for the virus. 

Hospitalizations in Virginia hit a spring peak of 1,625 patients on May 8, then followed case numbers downward through the summer, hitting a low of 783 on July 6 before starting to rise steadily in early November.   They peaked at 3,209 on Jan. 13, but have fallen about 65% since then to 1,127 as of Sunday, their lowest level since Nov. 9.

Northern Virginia data by locality: A year later (March 7, 2021)

SOURCE: Virginia Department of Health

Locality Cases Hospitalizations Deaths
Alexandria 10,445 513 125
Arlington 13,433 777 237
Fairfax 67,693 3,552 1005
Fairfax City 498 38 14
Falls Church 359 20 9
Loudoun 23,472 881 253
Manassas 4,047 163 41
Manassas Park 1,129 66 12
Prince William 39,936 1,420 451
Totals 161,012 7,430 2,147
County/City Cases Hospitalizations Deaths
Fredericksburg 1,792 93 22
Spotsylvania 8,439 284 102
Stafford 9,671 320 68
Fauquier 4,020 165 57
Culpeper 4,123 169 55

Northern Virginia hospitalizations actually peaked on April 30 at 818 and never reached that level during the winter surge, peaking at 679 on Jan. 12. 


Deaths are a lagging indicator of the spread of the virus, as it has taken the Virginia Department of Health at times a month or more to process, verify and report death certificates. The health department reported the first death on March 14, in the Peninsula Health District, and as of Sunday has reported a total of 9,596 deaths, with over 4,500 of those having been reported since Jan. 1. 

That means that 1 in every 65 reported cases of COVID-19 has resulted in a death, and 1 in every 896 Virginians has died from the virus.

Based on the date of death, deaths peaked statewide Jan. 8 at 98 -- 81 confirmed and 17 considered likely. The seven-day average peaked Jan. 18 and Jan. 20 at 74.7 deaths a day.

Despite an early surge in deaths tied mostly to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Northern Virginia has fared better than the rest of the state in terms of the percentage of deaths. A total of 2,147 deaths have been reported in the region through Sunday, representing 1 out of every 75 confirmed cases and 1 out of every 1,164 of the region's residents. 

The deadliest days in Northern Virginia were May 5 and May 11, with 29 deaths each day, based on the date of death. 

Fairfax County, the state's largest jurisdiction, reported 10 new deaths on Sunday and has now surpassed 1,000 total deaths, with 1,005 overall, the most in the state.  Henrico County, in the Richmond suburbs, is next with 542 total deaths, and then Prince William County with 451.


According to data from the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Hispanics continue to make up a disproportionate percentage of cases in the region, accounting for about 38% of cases in which demographic data are recorded, even though they comprise only about 18% of the region's population. 

However, deaths related to COVID-19 in the region are generally in line with the region's racial and ethnic demographics. 

In terms of age, younger Northern Virginia residents have accounted for a higher proportion of cases, with 20- to 29-year-olds comprising 19% of all cases, despite making up only 13% of the region's population. 

Deaths, however, have been heavily skewed toward older residents, with those age 80 and over accounting for nearly 50% of the region's deaths, and another 22.7% coming from those aged 70-79.  Northern Virginia has reported only five deaths among 20- to 29-year-olds and none among anyone younger than 20. In fact, the state just last week reported its first death -- in the Central Region -- of a patient under the age of 10. 


Health experts acknowledge that lack of COVID-19 tests and long turnaround times for test results -- often a week or more -- allowed the virus to spread largely unchecked throughout the spring.  It took Virginia about three weeks, or until March 29, to report results of its first 10,000 tests.  The pace slowly picked up from there, and by May the state was reporting 6,000 to 7,000 test results a day. 

That number continued to increase through the summer and fall, peaking in the weeks just before and just after Thanksgiving at about 35,000 diagnostic test results a day.  It remained relatively high through early January but has declined since then and is now averaging about 20,000 a day -- generally believed to be due to a lack of demand as fewer Virginians are experiencing symptoms and more have been vaccinated. 

In total, the state has reported results of 6.04 million diagnostic tests and 7.72 million tests when including antigen tests and other rapid tests.  That's almost enough for every Virginian to have been tested once in the past year, but many Virginians have received more than one test.

Health officials have monitored test positivity rates closely, with a rate above 10% considered a sign that the virus is spreading unchecked, and a rate below 5% considered a sign that it is under control.  As with case levels, early test positivity rates soared to nearly 40% in some areas of the state last spring -- due in part to the lack of testing -- declined to less than 5% in late summer and early fall, and then increased back above 10% during the winter surge.

Seven-day average test positivity rates by health district (March 7, 2021)

SOURCE: Virginia Department of Health

Health District Peak Low Current Trend
Alexandria 40.1% / April 23 3.2% / Oct. 18 4.0% Down
Arlington 42.8% / April 20 2.4% / June 26 4.6% Down
Fairfax 38.6% / April 22 3.3% / Oct. 16 6.0% Up
Loudoun 27.9% / April 28 4.0% / Sept. 30 & Oct. 3 7.2% Up
Prince William 36.7% / April 18 5.4% / Oct. 20 7.7% Down
Rappahannock 19.2% / Jan. 7 3.5% / July 3 6.9% Down
Statewide 20.6% / April 22 4.5% / Sept. 30, Oct. 1,2,12 & 13 6.2% Stable


Virginia administered its first vaccine doses on Dec. 14 - or just over nine months into the pandemic.  On Saturday, March 6, it administered its first doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires just one dose to be effective.  Overall, the state has now administered 2,267,459 doses of vaccines, with 802,667 residents now fully vaccinated - or about 9.3% of the state's population. 

After a slow start, the pace of vaccinations picked up in early January, but they slowed again in mid-February due to winter weather and supply shortages.  However, the pace has increased again in the past two weeks, and the state is now averaging over 53,000 doses administered each day, exceeding a goal that Northam set in early January.


New Cases/Deaths

  • Northern Virginia: 342 new cases, 15 new deaths.   

  • Statewide: 1,163 new cases, 77 new deaths.

  • Statewide Testing: 19,925 PCR diagnostic test results.     

Overall Total

  • Northern Virginia: 161,012 cases, 2,147 deaths  

  • Statewide: 585,700 cases, 9,596 deaths

  • Statewide Testing: 6.04 million PCR diagnostic tests (7.72 million when including antibody and antigen tests)  

  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 38 (including nine in Fairfax, six in Prince William, two in Loudoun and one in Alexandria). 

*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: 1,172 (down from from 1,164 the previous day)

  • Peak Hospitalizations: 3,209 reached Jan. 13

  • Patients in ICU: 258 (down from 263 the previous day)

  • Patients Discharged: 48,428 total  

  • Nursing Home Patients: 245 as of Saturday(fewest ever; no report Sundays and Mondays) 

*Provided by Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association

For updated national and international COVID-19 data, visit the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard

Prince William Health District reaches out to minority communities about COVID-19 vaccines



(1) comment

Tee Muttenfudge

585,700 cases with 9596 deaths is 1.6 percent, and that's using the confirmed cases, which we know is a lot less than actual. you have a 1.6 percent chance of dying if you get covid-19 in Virginia. After a year, I'm still confused why we are taking all of these precautions when the hospitals are not overwhelmed. (which if that is the case, let's mask and lock down), but this virus isn't deadly, especially not for those under 65, which is true for nearly all viruses. OPEN BACK UP!

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