The number of new COVID-19 cases has remained low across Northern Virginia this week, and test positivity rates throughout the region and state have all fallen to new lows as vaccinations continue to increase. 

The Virginia Department of Health has reported fewer than 100 new coronavirus cases in the region on five of the past seven days, including Friday, when only 73 were added. The region's seven-day average of new cases fell as low as 69.1 on Wednesday -- its lowest level since April 1, 2020 -- and stands at 81.6 as of Friday. 

Statewide, the seven-day average of new cases has fallen to 441.9 as of Friday, the lowest level since April 18, 2020. The average is down 20% in the past week and 67% in the past month. 

Meanwhile, the percentage of positive COVID-19 diagnostic, or PCR, tests dropped to a new low statewide of 2.9% as of Friday.  Every health district in Northern Virginia has also hit new lows this week, all less than 3%. Experts generally believe that positivity rates below 5% indicate the spread of the virus is under control. In fact the city of Alexandria reported no new cases on either Tuesday or Wednesday, and Arlington County reported no new cases Tuesday. 

Seven-day average diagnostic test positivity rates by health district (May 21, 2021)

Health District Peak Low Current Trend
Alexandria 40.1% / April 23 2.1% / May 19 2.2% Stable
Arlington 42.8% / April 20 1.4% / May 21 1.4% Down
Fairfax 38.6% / April 22 1.6% / May 20 & 21 1.6% Stable
Loudoun 27.9% / April 28 2.5% / May 21 2.5% Down
Prince William 36.7% / April 18 2.7% / May 21 2.7% Down
Rappahannock 19.2% / Jan. 7 3.5% / July 3 (2020) 5.0% Down
Statewide 20.6% / April 22 2.9% / May 21 2.9% Down

The number of PCR test results being reported, however, is falling as well, as fewer people exhibit symptoms of the virus.  An average of about 12,000 test results a day were reported over the past week, the fewest since the week ending July 10, 2020. 

The updated reports come as the state prepares to drop all COVID-19 restrictions next Friday, May 28, and as mask requirements begin to be lifted. 

Hospitalizations for treatment of COVID-19 also hit new lows statewide this week, with 587 patients being treated as of Thursday - the lowest level since the data was first reported early in April 2020.  Hospitalizations did tick back up Friday to 619, but that's down almost 45% from the levels a month earlier, according to data provided by the Virginia Healthcare and Hospital Association.  The number of COVID-19 patients being treated in intensive care units also hit a new low Thursday, at 175. 

In Northern Virginia, the number of patients hospitalized as of Friday was 133, up slightly from 125 -- the lowest ever -- a week earlier.  That's still well below the region's peak of 818 on April 30, 2020. 

The health department reported 83 new deaths statewide from COVID-19 this week, with 12 of those in Northern Virginia: eight in Prince William County, three in Fairfax County and one in Arlington. 

Northern Virginia data by locality (May 21, 2021)

SOURCE: Virginia Department of Health

Locality Cases Hospitalizations Deaths
Alexandria 11,818 564 135
Arlington 15,285 848 256
Fairfax 76,795 4,023 1,082
Fairfax City 559 50 19
Falls Church 434 22 9
Loudoun 27,846 1,065 277
Manassas 4,304 173 47
Manassas Park 1,219 69 11
Prince William 45,250 1,629 498
Totals 183,510 8,443 2,334
County/City Cases Hospitalizations Deaths
Fredericksburg 2,133 103 23
Spotsylvania 10,078 317 120
Stafford 11,361 362 79
Fauquier 4,693 202 70
Culpeper 4,657 191 64

The state updated its vaccination numbers this week to include vaccine doses administered by the federal government, primarily to military service members, veterans and their families, as well as at federal prisons.  As InsideNoVa first reported in late January, those numbers previously were not being included in the state's vaccination data.  As of Friday, about 390,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered by the federal government to Virginia residents. 

That addition means that 65% of Virginians aged 18 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the Virginia Department of Health's vaccine dashboard.  President Joe Biden has set a goal of 70% of adults to be vaccinated by July 4.  Over half of Virginia adults, 52.4%, have received at least one dose of a vaccine. 

The pace of vaccinations has picked up slightly this week, with a current seven-day average of 48,880 statewide.  Adolescents aged 12 to 15 were added to the groups eligible to receive the vaccine a week ago.   The statewide average was as high as 85,000 per day in late March and early April. 


New Cases/Deaths (Friday)

  • Northern Virginia: 73 new cases, 1 new death.   

  • Statewide: 396 new cases, 6 new deaths.

  • Statewide Testing: 14,747 PCR diagnostic test results.     

Overall Total

  • Northern Virginia: 183,510 cases, 2,334 deaths  

  • Statewide: 672,312 cases, 11,704 deaths

  • Statewide Testing: 7.33 million PCR diagnostic tests (9.66 million when including antibody and antigen tests)  

  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 71 (including 14 in Fairfax, 10 in Prince William, two in Loudoun and Alexandria and one in Arlington). One new case reported in Fairfax this week.

*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: 619 (up from 587 the previous day)

  • Peak Hospitalizations: 3,209 reached Jan. 13

  • Patients in ICU: 183 (up from 175 the previous day)

  • Patients Discharged: 55,778

  • Nursing Home Patients: 81 (down from 86 on Wednesday; numbers reported only on Wednesdays and Fridays)

*Provided by Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association

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


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