Motorists line up at a coronavirus testing site. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Coronavirus Testing
Motorists line up at a coronavirus testing site. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Less than 6% of the state’s virus tests came back positive over the last seven days.

RICHMOND- The Virginia Department of Health announced good news and bad Wednesday. On the one hand, the state’s number of positive COVID-19 cases is going down. The department reported only 5.5% of people tested had the virus over the last week. By comparison, last month, the state reported a 7.7% positive rate. The number was even higher at the beginning of the pandemic at over 20%. 

So far, the Health Department reports 1,922,606 Virginians who’ve been tested with the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests. To be clear, these PCR tests take a few days to process and most people only get tested when symptoms develop. Since symptoms take up to two weeks to show, what we’re seeing now is how Virginia looked at the beginning of September. Still, for the first time in a month, Virginia’s seven-day new case average dropped below 900 for the first time since August this week. It now stands at 890.

But as we mentioned, there was some bad news with the good on Wednesday. The Health Dept. reported eight new outbreaks over the last 48 hours, with the majority in long-term care facilities. According to VDH’s dashboard, the state attributed 22,207 cases to outbreaks, with 8,034 cases affecting healthcare workers.

Breaking Down The Numbers

Overall, Virginia reported 142,590 total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. That number slightly climbed this week, with 580 new cases. The number of hospitalizations is also declining, with 10,718 people in a medical bed due to the virus. In terms of deaths, we reported last week that it would take time to adjust the numbers, due to the state’s backlogged reports. So at face value, the VDH has reported 29 new deaths. But, judging by the date of deaths, the numbers are remaining steady. So far, 3,089 people have died in Virginia because of COVID-19.

Recently, Virginia saw it’s first student death due to COVID-19. On Sept 18, the VDH announced that an adolescent from the Southside Health District passed away after testing positive for the virus. This was the state’s first COVID-related death of someone under the age of 19. The latest school-related incident came Wednesday, as officials announced an individual at Amherst High School in Amherst County tested positive. The district didn’t release any more information about the case.

While Virginia’s COVID-19 situation is improving, the United States as a whole is still struggling. Recently, the US coronavirus death toll reached over 200,000 people. According to WRIC, an average of 770 people are dying from COVID-19 a day. Currently, the United States’ has the sixth highest COVID-19 death toll of any other country.

Arianna Coghill is a content producer for Dogwood. She can be reached at arianna@couriernewsroom.com