Over 3,300 Virginians were in hospitals Friday for treatment of COVID-19, a new record, as case numbers generally showed signs of peaking, but at historically high levels.
The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association reported 3,329 hospitalizations, surpassing the prior record of 3,209, set nearly a year ago, on Jan. 13, 2021. Of the number hospitalized Friday, 545 were in intensive-care units and 297 were on ventilators, both numbers down slightly from a year ago, when 587 were in ICUs and 362 on ventilators.
Hospitalization numbers are not available specifically for Northern Virginia, although at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center the number of COVID patients has tripled since late December.
Hospitalizations tend to lag behind rising case counts, and some modeling projections suggest the surge may not have peaked, said Julian Walker, vice president of communications for the hospital association.
"The current situation is serious and if things remain on the current trajectory for an extended period ... we could face the possibility of straining the limits of the system’s capacity," Walker added. "As adaptable as hospitals have been, it is important to remember that the health care delivery system does not have unlimited resources."
Statewide, a record 102,511 new cases were reported this week -- by comparison, the state didn't report its first 100,000 cases until five months into the pandemic. A daily record of 19,506 new cases reported was set Sunday, and the seven-day average hit a new peak Friday at 14,644.4, although the daily average increased only slightly during the latter half of the week.
In Northern Virginia, a record 34,117 new cases were reported this week -- up 26.4% from the prior week. The region also set a daily record Sunday with 6,810 new cases, and its seven-day average peaked Tuesday at 5,053.9. By Friday, the average had fallen slightly to 4,873.9.
The snowstorm across a large part of the state this week closed testing sites and may have resulted in fewer new cases being reported, so whether this week's numbers represent a peak or a pause before continuing to rise remains uncertain.
Northern Virginia's seven-day average is now nearly 4 1/2 times the level it was on this date in January 2021, while the state's average is about three times the 2021 level.
Seven-day average diagnostic test positivity rate by health district (Jan. 7, 2022)
|Alexandria||40.1% / April 23, 2020||0.8% / July 3||32.1%||Up|
|Arlington||42.8% / April 20, 2020||0.3% / June 22||29.3%||Up|
|Fairfax||38.6% / April 22, 2020||0.7% / July 1 & 2||34.2%||Up|
|Loudoun||34.0% / Jan. 7, 2022||0.5% / June 20, 21, 22, 23||34.0%||Up|
|Prince William||42.7% / Jan. 7, 2022||1.1% / June 20||42.7%||Up|
|Rappahannock||40.5% / Jan. 2, 2022||1.3% / June 20||40.3%||Up|
|Statewide||34.6% / Jan. 7, 2022||1.3% / June 25||34.6%||Up|
The Virginia Department of Health has now reported 174 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, with 101 of them in Northern Virginia. The state number is up from 76 cases week earlier, and Omicron represented two-thirds of all cases tested for the week ending Dec. 25. Only a small percentage of positive samples are tested for variants, and completing the testing and reporting results often takes a week or more.
Diagnostic test positivity rates continued to rise rapidly this week, setting records both statewide at 34.6%, up from 21.5% a week earlier, and in Northern Virginia. The Loudoun and Prince William health districts both set new records this week, eclipsing their previous highs set in April 2020.
The state reported only 64 new COVID-related deaths this week, the fewest since August. However, the Virginia Department of Health said that because of a new method for accounting for COVID-related deaths, reports of new deaths after Jan. 1 would be delayed several weeks. None of this week's new deaths was in Northern Virginia.
Northern Virginia data by locality (Jan. 7, 2022)
|Locality||Cases||Hospitalizations||Deaths||New cases this week||New cases last week|
|OTHER AREA JURISDICTIONS|
|County/City||Cases||Hospitalizations||Deaths||New cases this week||New cases this week|
The state health department changed its definition of an outbreak, effective Jan. 1, to include locations that have three or more connected cases, not two or more. The largest newly reported outbreak in Northern Virginia this week is at Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Alexandria, which has 45 cases, reported to the health department on Dec. 29.
Four other new outbreaks were reported in the region with five or more cases this week:
- Silverado Alexandria Memory Care Community, five cases reported Dec. 29
- Vitality Living, an assisted-living center in Arlington County, five cases reported Dec. 28
- Envoy of Woodbridge, a nursing home in Prince William, 13 cases reported Dec. 29
- KinderCare Montclair, a pre-kindergarten/day care center in Prince William, six cases reported Dec. 29.
The health department's dashboard tracking the number of breakthrough infections shows that between Jan. 17 and Dec. 25, 27,168 infections had been reported in fully vaccinated people in Northern Virginia, resulting in 88 deaths.
Statewide, 90,629 such infections had been reported, or about 13.6% of the 664,000 overall cases reported in that time. The health department says the data show that unvaccinated people are 3.8 times more likely to develop COVID-19 than fully vaccinated individuals and are 3.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19.
The health department's vaccination dashboard shows that the average number of doses administered per day declined slightly this week to about 26,000, but will likely drop farther due to the closure of many vaccination centers due to weather. Vaccinations were as high as 86,000 a day in late March, but had fallen to about 12,000 a day in mid-summer.
As of Friday, about 14.18 million vaccine doses had been administered to Virginians, and third doses had been administered to over 2.14 million Virginia residents. Over 237,000 children ages 5 to 11 have now received at least one dose, representing about 32.8% of that age group.
Overall, 77.8% of all Virginians have now received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 67.9% are considered fully vaccinated.
LATEST COVID-19 DATA
New Cases/Deaths (Seven days ending Friday, Jan. 7)
- Northern Virginia: 34,117 new cases (up from 26,999 prior week); no new deaths (down from 56 prior week)
- Statewide: 102,511 new cases (up from 69,182 prior week); 64 new deaths (down from 293 prior week)
- Statewide Testing: 199,393 PCR diagnostic test results (up from 159,658 prior week and most since week ending Jan. 29, 2021)
- Northern Virginia: 317,981 cases, 2,707 deaths
- Statewide: 1,221,029 cases, 15,651 deaths
- Statewide Testing: 11.4 million PCR diagnostic tests (16.25 million when including antibody and antigen tests)
- Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 126 (including 14 in Fairfax, 12 in Prince William, two in Loudoun and Alexandria and one in Arlington). One new case was reported statewide this week.
*Provided by Virginia Department of Health. The health department's COVID-19 data is updated each morning (Monday through Friday) by 10 a.m. and includes reports by local health agencies before 5 p.m. the previous day.
Statewide Hospital Data (as of Friday, Jan. 7):
Hospitalizations: 3,329 (up from 2,182 on Dec. 31)
Peak Hospitalizations: 3,329 reached Jan. 7, 2022
Patients in ICU: 545 (up from 438 on Dec. 31)
Patients Discharged: 80,763 (2,489 this week)
*Provided by Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
For updated national and international COVID-19 data, visit the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard.
Editor's note: InsideNoVa is providing regular COVID-19 updates every week. For daily reports, visit the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard.