Virginia reported a one-day record of 99 deaths related to COVID-19 statewide on Saturday, even as all other indicators of the spread of the virus continue to fall to below pre-Thanksgiving levels.
The Virginia Department of Health has said that reports of virus-related deaths often lag far behind other indicators, due to the time required to file, process and verify death certificates and causes of death. As an indication of that, the date on which the most COVID-19 patients actually died was Dec. 31, when 49 deaths were confirmed as related to COVID-19 and another 14 were listed as probably related.
The previous one-day record for reported deaths was 96 on Sept. 15, which the health department said at the time was caused by a backlog in death certificates. It was not immediately clear whether Saturday's number was similarly driven higher by an unusual backlog; death reports have generally been falling since early February, when they were well over 300 a week. In the week ending Friday, for example, just 132 were reported.
Virginia's per-capita COVID death rate is actually among the lowest in the country, at 83 deaths per 100,000 people, as of Feb. 19, according to one tracking website. Only seven states -- including Alaska and Hawaii - and Puerto Rico have lower death rates. New Jersey has the highest death rate at 256 per 100,000.
Meanwhile, the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for treatment of the virus continue to fall, both statewide and in Northern Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Health reported 409 new cases of COVID-19 in Northern Virginia on Saturday, following 435 on Friday. The region's seven-day average of new cases, which peaked Jan. 18 at 1,628.4, is now down to 444.4, its lowest level since Nov. 16.
Statewide, 1,882 new cases of coronavirus were reported Saturday, following 2,034 on Friday. The state's seven-day average, which peaked Jan. 18 at 6,128.4, is down to 2,055.4, its lowest level since Nov. 20.
Hospitalizations for treatment of the virus have fallen significantly again the past two days, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, and are now more than 50% below their Jan. 13 peak. The number of patients hospitalized, 1,594, is at its lowest level since Nov. 28. In Northern Virginia, 271 patients were hospitalized as of Saturday, the fewest since Nov. 8.
In addition, the number of patients with COVID-19 in the state's nursing homes is down to 389, that measure's lowest level since July 27, after peaking at 2,275 on Jan. 14. Nursing homes followed front-line health care centers as the first locations for vaccinations, most of which have now been completed.
Of the new deaths related to COVID-19 on Saturday, 18 were in Northern Virginia: seven in Fairfax County, six in Prince William County, four in Loudoun County and one in the city of Manassas.
Northern Virginia data by locality (Feb. 20, 2021)
|OTHER AREA JURISDICTIONS|
Average diagnostic test positivity rates are also continuing to fall, and in Northern Virginia, only the Prince William Health District has a rate higher than 10%.
Seven-day average test positivity rate (Feb. 20, 2021)
|Alexandria||40.1% / April 23||3.2% / Oct. 18||5.9%||Down|
|Arlington||42.8% / April 20||2.4% / June 26||4.6%||Stable|
|Fairfax||38.6% / April 22||3.3% / Oct. 16||6.7%||Down|
|Loudoun||27.9% / April 28||4.0% / Sept. 30 & Oct. 3||7.7%||Down|
|Prince William||36.7% / April 18||5.4% / Oct. 20||10.3%||Down|
|Rappahannock||19.2% / Jan. 7||3.5% / July 3||11.0%||Down|
|Statewide||20.6% / April 22||4.5% / Sept. 30, Oct. 1,2,12 & 13||8.2%||Stable|
The health department's vaccine dashboard shows that 1.54 million doses of vaccines have been administered to Virginia residents out of about 1.77 million the state has received. About 440,000 Virginians have received the requisite two doses for the vaccine to be fully effective.
Vaccinations are averaging 36,172 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. Dr. Danny Avula, the state's vaccine coordinator, said in a news briefing Friday that about 106,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine the state was expecting to receive this week were not delivered due to the winter weather across the country. With those vaccines being delivered next week, along with the state's usual supply, which has been increasing, the pace of vaccinations should pick up, he said.
In addition, Avula said, the federal government is allocating more vaccines to pharmacy chains, and Walgreen's and Walmart are expected to announce vaccination plans for Virginia within the next week or so, joining CVS.
LATEST COVID-19 DATA
Northern Virginia: 409 new cases, 18 new deaths.
Statewide: 1,882 new cases,99 new deaths.
Statewide Testing: 24,574 PCR diagnostic test results.
Northern Virginia: 154,806 cases, 1,751 deaths
Statewide: 561,812 cases, 7,197 deaths
Statewide Testing: 5.73 million PCR diagnostic tests (7.24 million when including antibody and antigen tests)
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 18 (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: 1,594 (down from 1,671 the previous day)
Peak Hospitalizations: 3,209 reached Jan. 13
Patients in ICU: 312 (down from 329 the previous day)
Patients Discharged: 45,667 total
- Nursing Home Patients: 389 (down from 432 the previous day and fewest since July 27)
*Provided by Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
For updated national and international COVID-19 data, visit the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard.