RICHMOND-The numbers keep rising. As students go back to college, players prepare for football and more people venture out, Virginia’s COVID-19 caseload keeps going higher. As of Wednesday, the state had reported 122,542 cases since the pandemic started. A total of 9,678 people have been hospitalized and 2,641 people died in the last six months due to the virus.
But those numbers aren’t what concerns state officials. It’s the fact new cases come in by the thousands on a weekly basis now. The Virginia Department of Health reported 927 new cases of COVID-19 from Tuesday to Wednesday and 7,084 since Aug. 26.
Cities that house Virginia colleges, like Harrisonburg and Radford, saw the biggest increase in cases as students returned. Harrisonburg reported 335 cases, while Radford saw 281. At James Madison University, the school reported more than 500 cases over the last week. By Tuesday, JMU had the most cases of any Virginia college or university. As a result, university officials converted to all virtual learning within the last 48 hours. Radford University’s case positivity rate recently doubled.
The largest number of new cases came from NoVa. Fairfax County reported 728 new cases in the last week, with 433 in Prince William and 266 in Loudon County.
Some Areas See Numbers Improve
However, the news isn’t all bad. Some cities which previously had a surge in cases saw their numbers steadily improve over the last week. Virginia Beach, for example, currently has a 5.8 percent infection rate. That’s lower than every other portion of the commonwealth.
However, despite this improvement, Gov. Ralph Northam has made it clear that Virginia isn’t out of the woods yet. He predicted that the coronavirus will likely stick around during the fall and winter and the state must keep restrictions in place to maintain Virginia’s progress.
“With a holiday weekend coming up, with back-to-school coming in different forms and with colleges returning, now is the time to double down on what we know is working so we can set ourselves up for success this fall,” said Northam in a Tuesday press conference.
According to Northam, Virginia has moderately contained the coronavirus. Currently, the case numbers and positivity rate are remaining steady. Also during the conference, Gov. Ralph Northam stressed the importance of attending testing events when they’re held.
“We’re having testing events, but not many people are showing up. I get it. We’re all tired but the basic facts remain the same. If you have COVID, you need to isolate yourself and stay away from other people. That starts with getting tested,” said Northam.
So far, 1,605,290 people have been tested for coronavirus in Virginia, with a positivity rate of 7.7%, according to the VDH.