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)
|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)
|OTHER AREA JURISDICTIONS|
LATEST COVID-19 DATA
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
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.