The number of new COVID-19 cases in Virginia could double over the next two months and nearly triple by January, according to the latest model from the Biocomplexity Institute at the University of Virginia.
The institute's updated model, released Friday, projects that cases will peak at about 14,900 the week ending Dec. 13. That would be double the current trend of new cases of about 1,000 a day, or 7,000 a week. Previously the institute had said cases would peak the week ending Nov. 22 at about 8,400.
The new model notes that reproduction rates now exceed 1.0 in most regions of the state, meaning each person who contracts the virus is passing it on to more than one additional person on average. Reproduction rates need to be less than 1.0 in order to slow the spread of the virus.
In addition, seven of the state's 34 health districts are now seeing surges in the spread of the virus, up from five the previous week, and 17 are seeing slow growth, up from 13 the prior week. In Northern Virginia, the Loudoun and Arlington health districts have moved from plateau to slow growth since the institute's Oct. 16 report, joining the Prince William health district.
The institute's weekly report said the increases are "a concerning trend as we head into the holiday season."
It also noted that if the holiday season and colder weather results in an additional jump in cases, the state could have as many as 20,000 new cases a week in January - or nearly triple current levels.
"However, if Virginians respond to the increase in case growth by improving prevention efforts such as hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks, cases could peak earlier and at a lower level," the institute wrote.
Saturday's update from the Virginia Department of Health brought two more doses of news indicating COVID-19 trends across the state are worsening. The state's seven-day average positivity rate for diagnostic tests ticked above 5%, to 5.1%, for the first time in four weeks. The 5% mark is generally considered an indicator that the virus is being contained.
Seven-day average test positivity rate by health district
|Alexandria||40.1% / April 23||3.2% / Oct. 18||4.4%||Up|
|Arlington||42.8% / April 20||2.4% / June 26||3.6%||Down|
|Fairfax||38.6% / April 22||3.3% / Oct. 16||3.9%||Down|
|Loudoun||27.9% / April 28||4.0% / Sept. 30 & Oct. 3||4.9%||Down|
|Prince William||36.7% / April 18||5.4% / Oct. 20||6.0%||Down|
|Rappahannock||17.2% / May 8||3.5% / July 3||5.2%||Stable|
|Statewide||20.6% / April 22||4.5% / Sept. 30, Oct. 1,2,12 & 13||5.1%||Up|
In addition, the state reported 39 new deaths related to COVID-19 on Saturday, on top of 15 Friday. Over the past seven days, 156 new deaths have been reported.
The Friday and Saturday deaths reported included a net increase of just two in Northern Virginia. Arlington County had two additional deaths and Fairfax one, but Alexandria's total was reduced by one.
The state health department reported 1,088 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, following 1,180 on Friday, bringing the state's seven-day average to 1,019.1. The average has been around 1,000 cases a day for a little over two weeks.
In Northern Virginia, 196 new cases were reported Saturday, following 280 on Friday, and the region's seven-day average is at 239.3.
Northern Virginia data by locality (Oct. 24, 2020)
|OTHER AREA JURISDICTIONS|
The biggest increase in new cases statewide recently has been in sparsely populated southwestern Virginia, where the seven-day average now stands at 320.
LATEST COVID-19 DATA
Northern Virginia: 196 new cases, 0 new net deaths.
Statewide: 1,088 new cases, 39 new deaths
Statewide Testing: 16,956 diagnostic test results reported
Northern Virginia: 56,516 cases, 1,237 deaths.
Statewide: 172,372 cases, 3,578 deaths
Statewide Testing: 2.49 million diagnostic tests (2.68 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: 979 (down from 1,012 the previous day)
Peak Hospitalizations: 1,625 reached May 8
- Patients in ICU: 220 (down from 233 the previous day)
Patients Discharged: 19,455 total
- Nursing Home Patients: 693 (up from 633 and the most since this data was first provided in mid-June)
*Provided by Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
For updated national and international COVID-19 data, visit the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard.