COVID-19 cases in Virginia could peak in the next three weeks, according to the latest update from the University of Virginia.
U.Va's Biocomplexity Institute, which has been providing weekly models since early in the pandemic, now forecasts that new cases will most likely peak at 46,000 a week (about 6,500 a day) in the week ending Feb. 21. The institute's updated forecast takes into account the effects of vaccinations, along with growth in new, more contagious variants of coronavirus.
Under the worst-case scenario, in which the new strains become dominant before vaccines can have much effect, cases would peak in early March at 57,000 per week, or about 8,000 per day.
Virginia's statewide seven-day average of new daily cases reported was as high as 6,166.3 on Jan. 18 but has fallen since and stands at 4,618.9 as of Sunday.
The U.Va. model noted that nationwide, COVID-19 cases have been declining since peaking at about 300,000 a day in early January.
As of Jan. 28, the institute said, Virginia had 57 average daily cases per 100,000 residents over the prior week, ranking 12th among U.S. states. It noted, however, that Virginia's peak incidence rate to date was less than half of the peaks experienced in the Dakotas, which had the highest rates per 100,000 residents. Virginia also has the eighth lowest total of COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 residents.
"Despite some inroads and short-term surges, Virginia's metro areas have avoided some of the exceptionally high incidence rates seen elsewhere so far," the report said. "If this persists, cases may plateau and decline in Virginia. However, if large metro areas experience the higher rates seen elsewhere, whether due to pandemic fatigue, new variants, or both, Virginia could see current high rates persist or increase into the spring."
Hospitalizations for treatment of COVID-19 in Virginia have continued to fall in recent days and are now down by nearly 700 patients, or 22%, from the high reached on Jan. 13. As of Sunday, 2,516 patients were hospitalized for treatment of the virus, the fewest since Dec. 27. And the number of those being treated in intensive-care units fell below 500, to 495, for the first time since Dec. 19.
The story was even better in Northern Virginia, where 466 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment as of Sunday. That is the lowest level since Nov. 30, just after Thanksgiving.
The Virginia Department of Health reported 2,558 new cases of coronavirus Sunday statewide, following 4,309 on Saturday. However, it said Sunday's number of new cases was likely depressed due to a system upgrade and that Monday's number could be higher than otherwise would be expected as a result.
Virginia passed 500,000 total coronavirus cases with Saturday's report, taking just 19 days -- the shortest period yet -- to add the newest 100,000 cases.
In Northern Virginia, 544 new cases were reported Sunday, following 1,177 on Saturday. The region's seven-day average is 1,166.6, down from peak of 1,628.4, set Jan. 18.
The state reported 70 new deaths related to coronavirus on Saturday, ending the second worst week since the pandemic began, with 370 in total. That was just three fewer than were reported the prior week. Death reports tend to lag behind other indicators, however, due to the time required to process and verify death certificates.
In Northern Virginia, 10 new deaths were reported Saturday and none Sunday. Of Saturday's deaths, five were in Prince William County, two apiece in Loudoun and Fairfax counties and one in Arlington County.
Northern Virginia data by locality (Jan. 31, 2021)
|OTHER AREA JURISDICTIONS|
The Virginia Department of Health's vaccine data showed that as of Sunday the state has administered about 805,000 doses out of more than 1.22 million distributed. Over 117,000 Virginians have now received the requisite two doses for the vaccines to be fully effective, and 571,000 have received at least one dose.
The pace of vaccinations has continued to pick up, with the Virginia Department of Health now reporting an average of 31,563 doses being administered each day, ahead of Gov. Ralph Northam's short-term goal set three weeks ago of 25,000 per day. Northam visited a teacher vaccination clinic in Prince William on Saturday.
Average test positivity rates both statewide and in Northern Virginia remain below the peaks reached in early January, with the Fairfax health district now joining Arlington County and Alexandria below the key 10% positivity threshold.
Seven-day average test positivity rate by health district (Jan. 31. 2021)
|Alexandria||40.1% / April 23||3.2% / Oct. 18||7.7%||Down|
|Arlington||42.8% / April 20||2.4% / June 26||7.7%||Stable|
|Fairfax||38.6% / April 22||3.3% / Oct. 16||9.8%||Down|
|Loudoun||27.9% / April 28||4.0% / Sept. 30 & Oct. 3||12.1%||Down|
|Prince William||36.7% / April 18||5.4% / Oct. 20||13.6%||Down|
|Rappahannock||19.2% / Jan. 7||3.5% / July 3||14.8%||Up|
|Statewide||20.6% / April 22||4.5% / Sept. 30, Oct. 1,2,12 & 13||11.8%||Down|
LATEST COVID-19 DATA
Northern Virginia: 544 new cases, 0 new deaths.
Statewide: 2,558 new cases, 15 new deaths.
Statewide Testing: 23,920 PCR diagnostic test results.
Northern Virginia: 141,720 cases, 1,642 deaths
Statewide: 504,779 cases, 6,464 deaths
Statewide Testing: 5.23 million PCR diagnostic tests (6.5 million when including antibody and antigen tests)
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 16 (including four in Fairfax, three in Prince William, and one apiece in Loudoun and 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: 2,516 (down from 2,632 the previous day)
Peak Hospitalizations: 3,209 reached Jan. 13
Patients in ICU: 496 (down from 507 the previous day)
Patients Discharged: 40,322 total
- Nursing Home Patients: 1,357 as of Saturday (fewest since Dec. 17; no report on Sundays or Mondays)
*Provided by Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
For updated national and international COVID-19 data, visit the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard.