A year ago today, on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, three people in Virginia -- including one in Northern Virginia -- began feeling symptoms of what would eventually be diagnosed as positive cases of coronavirus.
Because of lack of availability of COVID-19 tests and delays in reporting results in early days of the pandemic, it wouldn't be until three weeks later -- on March 7 -- that the state officially reported its first positive case - a U.S. Marine who had returned from overseas travel.
And by then, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health, 165 Virginians who would eventually be confirmed to have the virus were already feeling sick, and seven of them had been hospitalized.
A year later, over 553,000 Virginians have been diagnosed with COVID-19, including over 153,000 in Northern Virginia. Over 43,000 Virginians have been hospitalized for symptoms of the virus, treated and released. And over 7,000 Virginians have died from the virus, including over 1,700 in Northern Virginia.
The health department's data shows that in terms of when people began feeling symptoms, the virus peaked in the state and the region on Monday, Jan. 4, or 10 days after Christmas. On that day, 5,971 people around Virginia reported the onset of symptoms and later tested positive. Of those, 1,527 were in Northern Virginia.
Since then, however, the number of new cases of COVID-19 has dropped sharply. As of Tuesday, the state's seven-day average is at its lowest level since Dec. 6, and the region's average is at its lowest level since Dec. 5. In addition, hospitalizations for treatment of the virus hit their lowest level since Dec. 1 on Monday.
Statewide, 1,700 new cases of coronavirus were reported Tuesday, following 1,539 on Monday and 2,575 on Sunday. Monday's number represented the fewest daily cases since Nov. 15. The state's seven-day average, which peaked Jan. 18 at 6,128.4, is down to 2,741.7.
In Northern Virginia, 438 new cases were reported Tuesday, following 359 on Monday and 562 on Sunday. The region's seven-day average now stands at 665.6, also well below its Jan. 18 peak of 1,628.4.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations for treatment of the virus statewide fell to 1,833 on Monday, their lowest level since Dec. 1, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association They ticked back up slightly Tuesday to 1,849. In Northern Virginia, hospitalizations have fallen below 300 for the first time since Nov. 10 and stand at 299 as of Tuesday.
In addition, the number of patients with COVID-19 in the state's nursing homes is down to 628, that measure's lowest level since Oct. 30, after peaking at 2,275 on Jan. 14.
Average diagnostic test positivity rates are also continuing to fall, as Loudoun County joins local health districts with rates below 10%, and Arlington County's rate has dropped to 5%. Experts believe that when test positivity rates are above 10%, not all instances of the virus are being captured. Rates below 5% generally indicate the virus is under control.
Seven-day average test positivity rate by health district
|Alexandria||40.1% / April 23||3.2% / Oct. 18||6.4%||Down|
|Arlington||42.8% / April 20||2.4% / June 26||5.0%||Down|
|Fairfax||38.6% / April 22||3.3% / Oct. 16||8.2%||Down|
|Loudoun||27.9% / April 28||4.0% / Sept. 30 & Oct. 3||9.1%||Down|
|Prince William||36.7% / April 18||5.4% / Oct. 20||11.4%||Down|
|Rappahannock||19.2% / Jan. 7||3.5% / July 3||12.6%||Down|
|Statewide||20.6% / April 22||4.5% / Sept. 30, Oct. 1,2,12 & 13||9.1%||Down|
The health department has reported 41 new deaths related to COVID-19 over the past three days, with five of those in Northern Virginia: two apiece in Loudoun and Fairfax counties and one in Arlington County. Death reports tend to lag behind other indicators by several weeks due to the time required to file, process and verify death certificates, but those numbers are significantly lower than were seen in January.
Northern Virginia data by locality (Feb. 16, 2021)
|OTHER AREA JURISDICTIONS|
The health department's vaccine dashboard shows that 1.4 million doses of vaccines have been administered to Virginia residents out of about 1.73 million the state has received. About 351,000 Virginians have received the requisite two doses for the vaccine to be fully effective.
Vaccinations are averaging 34,863 a day, ahead of Gov. Ralph Northam's short-term goal of 25,000 a day, but well behind his longer-term goal of 50,000 a day.
LATEST COVID-19 DATA
Northern Virginia: 438 new cases, 4 new deaths.
Statewide: 1,770 new cases, 21 new deaths.
Statewide Testing: 11,473 PCR diagnostic test results.
Northern Virginia: 153,034 cases, 1,726 deaths
Statewide: 553,308 cases, 7,037 deaths
Statewide Testing: 5.63 million PCR diagnostic tests (7.09 million when including antibody and antigen tests)
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 17 (including four in Fairfax, four 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: 1,849 (up from 1,833 the previous day)
Peak Hospitalizations: 3,209 reached Jan. 13
Patients in ICU: 401 (up from 398 the previous day)
Patients Discharged: 43,305 total
- Nursing Home Patients: 628 (fewest since Oct. 30 and down from 676 on Saturday; no reports Sunday or Monday)
*Provided by Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
For updated national and international COVID-19 data, visit the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard.