Northern Virginia continued to see more than half of the state's new COVID-19 cases and deaths Friday, as Gov. Ralph Northam weighs whether to lift strict restrictions on stores, salons, restaurants and churches May 29.
Northern Virginia reported 481 new cases of COVID-19, 59% of the state’s 813 new cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The region had 20 new deaths linked to the coronavirus, compared to 17 in the rest of the state.
The state’s total number of COVID-19 cases is now 34,950. The Northern Virginia localities account for more than 55.5% of all cases, or 19,397.
The state’s total number of deaths due to the coronavirus is at 1,136. Northern Virginia accounts for more than half of the overall deaths at 600. The state's most populous locality, Fairfax County, has reported more than a quarter, 321, with 12 new deaths in Fairfax reported Friday.
Northern Virginia reported 28 new hospitalizations, according to the state data, down from 77 new hospitalizations noted Thursday.
Northern Virginia Local COVID-19 DATA | May 22
The health department's COVID-19 data is updated each morning by 10 a.m. and includes cases, deaths and hospitalizations reported by local health agencies before 5 p.m. the previous day.
More testing and a smaller percentage of positive results will be key to allowing the region to reopen on time May 29.
Average positivity rates over the past seven days range from 18.8% in Loudoun County to 27.6% in the Prince William Health District, where testing has increased significantly in recent days. Those numbers have come down slightly since Friday, when the Virginia Department of Health first began making them available by health district.
Statewide, 6,543 diagnostic test results were reported Friday morning, up from 5,925 reported Thursday.
The seven-day average positivity rate statewide is 14.7%. The state has reported 223,433 diagnostic test results in total and nearly 250,000 when including antibody tests.
Northern Virginia 7-Day Positivity Rate
|Health District||May 15||Latest||Trend|
Hospitalizations statewide dropped to 1,459, down from 1,491 on Thursday, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. It’s the lowest number since May 4, and well below the high of 1,625 patients May 8. Hospitals still have capacity for around 8,000 additional patients in Virginia, according to the state health department.
Of those hospitalized for COVID-19, 995 are confirmed cases and 464 are being treated pending test results. The association reported that 366 patients are in ICU and 207 are on ventilators. The association said 4,963 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals in the state since the pandemic began.
The association also began reporting this week data on coronavirus patients and supply needs at licensed nursing homes in the state. It said 1,676 patients are being treated for COVID-19 within those facilities as of Friday — a 16% increase in the last two days.
In addition, a number of those facilities are reporting difficulty obtaining personal protective equipment within the next 72 hours, with 17 saying they are having difficulty obtaining N95 masks and 23 saying they are having difficulty obtaining isolation gowns.
The new information represents data reported voluntarily by 262 of the 287 licensed nursing homes in Virginia. Assisted living facilities are not included in the dashboard because they are licensed by the state Department of Social Services, not the health department.
The coronavirus that started in China in late 2019 has led to more than 333,400 deaths, including 94,729 deaths in the U.S., according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. More than 5.12 million cases of the virus have been reported, including more than 1.57 million cases in the U.S.
Johns Hopkins notes that more than 298,000 patients have recovered in the U.S. and more than 1.96 million have recovered worldwide.
The city of Manassas and the Prince William Chamber of Commerce have joined Prince William County in asking Gov. Ralph Northam to allow restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining starting this weekend.
Manassas has the highest rate of cases per capita of any city in the state and is ranked behind only three counties, according to state health department data.
Restaurants in Northern Virginia are limited to carry-out or drive-through. In other parts of the state, restaurants can use 50% of their outdoor capacity.
Prince William County’s public outdoor pools and waterparks will not open during the 2020 summer season due to health and operational concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A group of voters is suing Virginia election officials over a loosening of restrictions on absentee ballots for next month’s statewide primary, arguing that the state can’t allow voters to use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to vote by mail, according to The Associated Press.
The federal lawsuit was filed by attorney Jim Bopp on behalf of six Northern Virginia voters.
Shenandoah National Park this Saturday will reopen Skyline Drive and the scenic roadway’s immediate access to over 480 miles of trials.