The number of patients being treated statewide for COVID-19 in intensive-care units hit a record high Friday, as deaths from the virus also increased sharply this week and the Delta variant surge has not yet abated.
The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, which has been tracking hospitalizations since early in the pandemic, reported that 621 confirmed or likely positive coronavirus patients were in ICUs statewide Friday morning. That's up over 100 patients from a week earlier and easily surpassed the prior high of 588 patients on Jan. 19, during the worst of the winter surge. In addition, the number of patients on ventilators, 343, is just below the January peak of 366.
The overall number of hospitalizations plateaued a bit this week at 2,174 as of Friday, up just 1.1% from a week earlier.
That's still more than double the number of hospitalizations statewide a year ago, before vaccines were available. Hospitalizations fell as low as 195 in early July, with just 45 patients being treated in ICUs.
A spokesman for the association said last week that the increase in hospitalizations is not nearly as pronounced or sharp in Northern Virginia as it has been in other areas of the state.
Deaths caused by COVID-19 also jumped this week to 206 statewide, the most since the week ending March 12. Northern Virginia localities reported 16 new deaths, the most since the week ending May 28: seven in Fairfax County, six in Prince William County, two in Loudoun County and one in Alexandria.
Meanwhile, the number of new cases, while not increasing as fast as they were earlier in the summer, shows no signs of declining, either in Northern Virginia or the state as a whole.
Northern Virginia's seven-day average of new cases hit 498.8 on Thursday, its highest level since Feb. 19, before falling slightly Friday to 475.9. That's still 112% above the level on the same date in 2020.
Statewide, the seven-day average hit 3,688.7 on Tuesday, the highest level since Feb. 2, and stood at 3,624.3 on Friday. That's over 2 1/2 times the level of a year earlier and represents a 7.2% increase over the past week.
Northern Virginia's seven-day average remains below that in all four other regions of Virginia, which all have fewer residents:
- Southwest: 946
- Eastern: 791
- Northwest: 776
- Central: 636
Northern Virginia data by locality (Sept. 17, 2021)
|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 last week|
Meanwhile, updated data on selected outbreaks across the state show two new outbreaks in progress in Northern Virginia, both at Fairfax County nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, which were hit hard in the early stages of the pandemic:
- Harmony at Spring Hill, eight confirmed cases and between one and four deaths, reported to the health department on Sept. 7
- Burke Health & Rehabilitation Center, five confirmed cases and between one and four deaths, reported to the health department on Aug. 26.
Newly reported outbreaks that are pending closure, meaning no new cases have been reported in the past 14 days, have also occurred at four Fairfax County schools and two day-care facilities since mid-August: Bailey's Upper Elementary School, Bryant High School, Great Falls Elementary School, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Bright Horizons at Inova Fairfax and Chesterbrook Academy Preschool. All of those outbreaks involved between two and four positive cases except the one at Chesterbrook Academy, where five cases were reported. (For privacy reasons, the health department does not provide the exact number of cases or deaths in an outbreak when there are fewer than five.)
The health department's dashboard showing the number of breakthrough infections show that between Jan. 17 and Sept. 4, 6,697 infections had been reported in fully vaccinated people in Northern Virginia, resulting in 23 deaths. Statewide, over 23,000 such infections had been reported, a small percentage of the nearly 387,000 overall cases reported in that time.
The health department says the data show that unvaccinated people are 8.4 times more likely to develop COVID-19 than fully vaccinated individuals and are 7.9 times more likely to die from COVID-19.
The pace of vaccinations statewide is about 14,800 a day, according to the state's vaccination dashboard. Vaccinations were as low as 11,000 a day in early July but had been as high as 86,000 a day in late March. As of Friday, over 10.39 million vaccine doses had been administered to Virginians, with 70.8% of the adult population and 59.4% of the total population now fully vaccinated. The health department's vaccination numbers were updated this week to include vaccinations administered to Virginians in Maryland, which mostly affected Northern Virginia numbers but did raise the overall percentages slightly.
The state's average positivity rate for diagnostic tests remains above 10%, at which point experts believe the spread of the virus is out of control and not all cases are being captured. Northern Virginia positivity rates remain significantly below the state level, however, and have generally remained steady or fallen slightly.
Seven-day average test positivity rate by health district
|Field 1||Field 2||Field 3||Field 4||Field 5|
|Alexandria||40.1% / April 23, 2020||0.8% / July 3||3.8%||Up|
|Arlington||42.8% / April 20, 2020||0.3% / June 22||3.5%||Stable|
|Fairfax||38.6% / April 22, 2020||0.7% / July 1 & 2||4.7%||Stable|
|Loudoun||27.9% / April 28, 2020||0.5% / June 20, 21, 22, 23||5.0%||Down|
|Prince William||36.7% / April 18, 2020||1.1% / June 20||7.1%||Stable|
|Rappahannock||19.2% / Jan. 7||1.3% / June 20||12.2%||Down|
|Statewide||20.6% / April 22, 2020||1.3% / June 25||10.1%||Down|
LATEST COVID-19 DATA
New Cases/Deaths (Seven days ending Friday, Sept. 17)
Northern Virginia: 3,331 new cases (up from 3,009 prior week); 16 new deaths (up from 6 prior week)
Statewide: 25,370 new cases (up from 23,660 prior week), 206 new deaths (up from 137 prior week)
Statewide Testing: 182,111 PCR diagnostic test results (up from 157,460 prior week and most since week ending Feb. 12)
Northern Virginia: 206,515 cases, 2,456 deaths
Statewide: 827,197 cases, 12,242 deaths
Statewide Testing: 8.98 million PCR diagnostic tests (12.30 million when including antibody and antigen tests)
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 84 (including 14 in Fairfax, 11 in Prince William, two in Loudoun and Alexandria and one in Arlington). One new case 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, Sept. 17)
Hospitalizations: 2,174 (up from 2,150 on Sept. 10)
Peak Hospitalizations: 3,209 reached Jan. 13
Patients in ICU: 621 (up from 513 on Sept. 10 and the most ever)
Patients Discharged: 65,446 (1,242 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.