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Inside the Numbers: Not much going on with COVID-19 in Virginia

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard –

If it seems that it’s gotten quiet on the COVID-19 front in Virginia lately, that’s because it kinda has.

The total case count as we approach the five-month mark of the public health response to the virus whose origins in the States now dates to late 2019 passed the 100,000 mark over the weekend, but you blinked, and therefore missed it.

The seven-day moving average of new reported cases, which of course are a week to 10 days old by the time they get counted, but still, that’s the metric, is at 1,092 as today’s accounting from the Virginia Department of Health.

The number of new cases reported today was at a recent low: 663.

Populous Northern Virginia, which went through a spike in May, still opened up later that month, and has been in decline since, has a seven-day moving average of new cases at 238.

The Hampton Roads region, which had its own spike more recently, resulting in a half-hearted response from Gov. Ralph Northam that closed off alcohol sales in restaurants at 10 p.m. and reduced capacities in eating establishments to 50 percent, is down to 351 new reported cases in its seven-day moving average, down 27.4 percent from the July 25 peak of 483.

Less alcohol, sitting farther apart, and burnout, apparently, all factors there.

Hospitals in Virginia, never taxed anywhere near the levels seen in New York City back in late March, remain in the upper 70s in terms of utilization. VDH reports 12,775 hospital beds occupied today, 77.5 percent of the state’s capacity.

Of those, 1,251 are occupied by patients either confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. That total is 7.6 percent of the overall system capacity.

All of those numbers – total hospitalizations, specific hospitalizations for people confirmed or suspected with COVID – have remained steady for several weeks.

On the local scene, the Augusta County-Staunton-Waynesboro area has reported a total of 606 COVID-19 cases since March, a remarkably low number, especially considering the local newspaper clickbait from early in the public health response reporting that Augusta Health would be overrun with patients dying in its corridors.

Six hundred six.

VDH reports 29 total hospitalizations from Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro in five months, with seven COVID-19 deaths.

Charlottesville and Albemarle County, which two weeks ago imposed local restrictions limiting restaurant capacity and the size of social gatherings through the end of September, have added a total of 234 new COVID-19 cases since those orders were handed down on July 27, an average of 16.7 new reported cases a day.

According to VDH, eight of those new cases have resulted in hospitalizations.

These would seem to be good trends, no?

Again, no doubt, it’s because of the restrictions, which we’ll agree with even knowing that case reports lag a week to 10 days, so it’s more likely the case that whatever has been happening was happening before the government acted.

As if that hasn’t been the case all along.

Story by Chris Graham