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COVID-19 News: Positive tests trending down over past week in Virginia

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New positive COVID-19 cases in Virginia have been trending downward since hitting a high last Wednesday.

The Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard reported 3,160 new positive tests on Tuesday. This is down 28.1 percent from the high of 4,398 new positive tests reported back on Dec. 9.

Hospital census statewide has been holding through the recent surge in positive tests. The state has reported at least 1,000 new positive tests each day dating back to Oct. 27. Back on Oct. 27, the hospital census statewide was reported at 13,047, 79.2 percent of the overall hospital capacity.

Today, according to the VDH dashboard, the hospital census is 13,220, 80.2 percent of the overall capacity.

This as the number of patients in hospitals either with a positive COVID-19 test or awaiting test results for confirmation has more than doubled – from 1,081 back on Oct. 27 to 2,361 today.

The boring news here: we have 1,280 more COVID-19 patients in Virginia hospitals since the beginning of the spike on Oct. 27, but the overall census is up just 173.

The hospitals are holding up well, would be the overview.

How are ICUs doing?

ICUs statewide are at 77 percent of capacity – with hospitals reporting 1,420 of the 1,837 available ICU beds in use statewide, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association dashboard.

Of that total, 490 patients in ICUs have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results for confirmation.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs represents 26.7 percent of the current availability of ICU beds.

We note current availability because hospitals, as is routine, have in place what are called “surge plans” to be able to account for spikes in demand for ICU beds, for example, at the height of flu season.

The VHHA projects the state’s overall surge ICU capacity at 2,644 beds.

The current number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs represents 54 percent of that capacity.

COVID-19 vis-à-vis influenza

The VDH dashboard didn’t report any new COVID-19 deaths today. That leaves the total reported since mid-March at 4,470.

Of note: a look at the VDH Influenza Surveillance page, plus some patience to gather and then add the numbers, shows that there have been 4,122 deaths from flu and influenza-associated pneumonia since mid-March.

These numbers are incomplete, of course – for instance, the Influenza Surveillance page has only reported eight flu deaths since Nov. 21, while the COVID-19 dashboard has added 275 deaths since that date.

From past experience in monitoring the Influenza Surveillance page, that one seems to be much less a priority than the COVID-19 page, for lots of reasons, most obvious.

Interesting, though, how they’re tracking about one for one.

Demographic profiles

Haven’t done this kind of deep dive into the demographics from the VDH COVID-19 dashboard for a little while.

Total: 288,309 positive tests, 4,470 deaths

  • 80+: 11,978 positive tests (4.2% of total), 2,174 deaths (48.6% of total)
  • 70-79: 15,426 positive tests (5.4% of total), 1,151 deaths (25.7% of total)
  • 60-69: 27,802 positive tests (9.6% of total), 688 deaths (15.4% of total)
  • 50-59: 41,258 positive tests (14.3% of total), 288 deaths (6.4% of total)
  • 40-49: 43,360 positive tests (15.0% of total), 103 deaths (2.3% of total)
  • 30-39: 48,201 positive tests (16.7% of total), 40 deaths (0.9% of total)
  • 20-29: 57,685 positive tests (20.0% of total), 9 deaths (0.2% of total)
  • 0-19: 11,384 positive tests (3.9% of total), 1 death (0.02% of total)

One insight from the many that one could glean from this:

  • 60+: 55,206 positive tests (19.1% of total), 4,013 deaths (89.8% of total)
  • 0-59: 233,103 positive tests (80.9% of total), 457 deaths (10.2% of total)

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press