Dr. Steven Zeichner, part of UVA's team working on a COVID-19 vaccine, warned against speeding up the process for the sake of politics. Don't Speed Up COVID-19 Vaccine
Dr. Steven Zeichner, part of UVA's team working on a COVID-19 vaccine, warned against speeding up the process for the sake of politics.

Commonwealth’s case numbers constantly shift. State reported nine new outbreaks in the last 48 hours.

RICHMOND- Virginia is in the “orange zone” when it comes to COVID-19. That means last week, the state reported between 51 to 100 new cases for every 100,000 people, good enough for 34th in the nation. It’s a challenge for health department officials. Just when numbers decrease, something causes them to spike again.

For example, on Monday, Virginia saw the lowest increase in nearly a month, with only 698 new cases. That gave health officials hope we were turning a corner. But then Tuesday came and we went right back up, adding 926 new cases to the total.

Now, the VDH does have a tendency of backlogging old cases- meaning that the department will roll leftover cases into the next day’s data. However, that doesn’t account for all of the increase. Right now, Virginia’s new 7-day average is less than 1,000 cases a day, which is an improvement compared to the pandemic’s peak.

Currently, there are 167,754 new cases of COVID-19 across the state, with 157,213 confirmed and 10,541 that are probable.

New outbreaks reported across Virginia

Part of the problem stems from constant outbreaks. The Virginia Health Department reported nine new ones since Monday, bringing the state’s total to 1,169. About 40% of the outbreaks happened in long-term care facilities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, nursing homes and other care facilities have been hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks. Right now, 458 outbreaks have happened in long-term care facilities across the state. This means that over 400 clusters of at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19 have broken out since the pandemic started.

Currently, there are 25,581 cases associated with outbreaks in Virginia, centered around five main counties. Those counties include:

Fairfax- 152 outbreaks

Henrico- 61 outbreaks

Virginia Beach- 61 outbreaks

Chesterfield- 55 outbreaks

Richmond- 53 outbreaks

Hospitalizations have decreased

Like the overall cases, hospitalizations are also fluctuating. Tuesday, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported 35 less patients hospitalized than Monday. However, 935 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the state. Of these people, 688 people have confirmed cases of coronavirus. The remaining 249 people are still waiting on their results. 

Since the pandemic began, hospitals have admitted and discharged 19,170 people for COVID-19. According to the VHHA, there are 670 people with COVID-19 who require the use of a ventilator.

In terms of testing people for COVID-19, Virginia’s numbers are looking good. So far, the VDH has reported 2,411,940 tests since the beginning of the pandemic. In terms of how many tests are coming back positive, it’s still less than 5%. But, the 7-day PCR testing positivity rate is now at 4.8%, a slight increase from the previous day. But, at the peak of the pandemic, that figure was more than 20%.

Arianna Coghill is a content producer with the Dogwood. You can reach her at arianna@couriernewsroom.com