COVID-19 Virginia health districts surge 10.16.20

Analysis from the University of Virginia's Biocomplexity Institute shows a surge in COVID-19 cases in five health districts (red) - mostly in northwest and south central Virginia. The Prince William health district shows slow growth, while the rest of the Northern Virginia region shows a plateau in the number of cases. 

Five Virginia health districts are now seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and, if current trends continue, the state would hit a new peak for cases the week before Thanksgiving, according to a new model from the Biocomplexity Institute at the University of Virginia.

For several weeks, the institute's model, released every Friday, had indicated that the state hit its peak caseload the first week in August, when 8,388 new cases were reported. However, as numbers have ticked up since Oct. 1, the institute now believes the state will hit a new peak in the week ending Nov. 22 with 8,394 cases.

The new model noted that reproduction rates, or the number of people each person who has the virus spreads it to, has increased above 1.0 in every region except Northern Virginia, where it is 0.961.  In order for case numbers to decline, the reproduction rate has to be less than 1.

"This upward trend coincides with national trends, and trends in Europe," the Biocomplexity Institute said in its updated model. "While too early to be certain, this may suggest that concerns regarding the onset of cold weather were founded."

The institute did note that even at the higher end of its projected range of case increases, hospital capacity would not be exceeded in any region of Virginia before the end of the year.

Indeed, hospitalizations statewide for treatment of COVID-19 have remained just at or below 1,000 in recent weeks, well below the peak of 1,625 reached on May 8.  

The institute also noted that Virginia's current weekly new caseload of about 12 cases per 100,000 residents is below the current national average of over 19 cases per 100,000 residents. 

On Saturday, the Virginia Department of Health reported 1,114 new coronavirus cases statewide, with 216 of those in Northern Virginia.  The biggest surge in recent days has been in sparsely populated Southwest Virginia, which is averaging over 290 new cases a day. Northern Virginia's seven-day average fell slightly to 245.7 on Saturday, and the state's seven-day average stands at 1,047.6.

The numbers followed a week in which Northern Virginia had the most weekly cases since the week ending June 12 and the state had the most weekly cases since that first week in August.

The high number of cases has continued to cause test positivity rates to tick up. The state's seven-day average rate now stands at 4.9%, just below the key 5% threshold. The rate has been below 5% for 22 successive days.  

Seven-day average test positivity rate by health district (Oct. 17, 2020)

SOURCE: Virginia Department of Health

Health District Peak Low Current Trend
Alexandria 40.1% / April 23 3.4% / Oct. 14 3.6% Down
Arlington 42.8% / April 20 2.4% / June 26 3.7% Up
Fairfax 38.6% / April 22 3.3% / Oct. 16 3.4% Up
Loudoun 27.9% / April 28 4.0% / Sept. 30 & Oct. 3 5.4% Stable
Prince William 36.7% / April 18 5.5% / Oct. 14 5.6% Stable
Rappahannock 17.2% / May 8 3.5% / July 3 4.6% Down
Statewide 20.6% / April 22 4.5% / Sept. 30, Oct. 1,2,12 & 13 4.9% Up

The health department reported 14 new deaths related to COVID-19 statewide Saturday. Northern Virginia added two new net deaths, with two deaths being reported in Fairfax County and one in Prince William County, while one death was removed from Arlington County's total.

Northern Virginia data by locality (Oct. 17, 2020)

SOURCE: Virginia Department of Health

Locality Cases Hospitalizations Deaths
Alexandria 4,104 323 74
Arlington 4,345 518 152
Fairfax 22,530 2,205 601
Fairfax City 151 13 8
Falls Church 75 13 7
Loudoun 7,505 466 129
Manassas 2,007 132 26
Manassas Park 631 57 8
Prince William 13,493 965 217
Totals 54,841 4,692 1,222
County/City Cases Hospitalizations Deaths
Fredericksburg 575 50 5
Spotsylvania 2,315 147 47
Stafford 2,255 168 19
Fauquier 1,032 51 25
Culpeper 1,272 96 18


New Cases/Deaths

  • Northern Virginia: 216 new cases, 2 net new deaths.  

  • Statewide: 1,114 new cases, 14 new deaths

  • Statewide Testing: 19,481 diagnostic test results reported    

Overall Total

  • Northern Virginia: 54,841 cases, 1,222 deaths.

  • Statewide: 165,238 cases, 3,422 deaths

  • Statewide Testing: 2.37 million diagnostic tests (2.55 million when including antibody tests)

  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 10 

*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: 993 (down from 1,002 the previous day)

  • Peak Hospitalizations: 1,625 reached May 8

  • Patients in ICU: 219 (down from 222 the previous day)
  • Patients Discharged: 18,996 total

  • Nursing Home Patients: 653 (up from 622 the previous day and the most since June 29) 

*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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(6) comments


The models have been incredibly wrong to date. So you pick one to continue unnecessary fear mongering. Shameful really.


Nope they've been mostly accurate to the extent possible within science. What is incredibly wrong are right wing Facebook groups OANN Breitbart and Fox News.


What planet have you been living on? The models have not even been in the ballpark. Non-COVID-19 deaths since March are down almost 10% in 2020 compared to 2019. How does that happen? That means 2/3rds of deaths attributed to COVID-19 would have died anyway. Check the CDC statistics if you don't believe me. So glad you are checking out right wing Facebook groups as they are probably more accurate than most. I myself refuse to use Facebook.


I checked the statistics and none of that backs up your conspiracy theory nonsense non COVID deaths are not statistically significant in terms of difference from 2019. The COVID deaths were all because of COVID related pneumonia mostly regardless of comorbidities. I'd lay off any right wing news for now as you're making zero sense and are straight up lying now.


Hey. You are wrong again.

Here is the CDC link:

Have a nice day.


My parachute is slowing me down; I should take it off then.

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