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Updated: December 13, 2022 @ 3:44 am
As area hospitals strain under an influx of patients with the flu and other respiratory diseases, indications are that COVID-19 cases may have bottomed out and are beginning an expected fall and winter increase across Northern Virginia and the rest of the state.
Data from the Virginia Department of Health show that on Friday, Northern Virginia localities reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases since Sept. 30, 456. The region’s seven-day average of new cases stands at 301.9, the highest level since early October. The seven-day average had fallen as low as 263.4 on Oct. 11, its lowest level since early spring.
Statewide, 1,548 new cases were reported Friday, the most since Sept. 23. The seven-day average was 1,076.7, also the highest since early October. The state’s seven-day average was as low as 981.6 on Oct. 11, also the lowest since spring.
The health department data only include cases reported by physicians and hospitals to local health departments and does not include cases identified through in-home tests, so the actual number of cases is likely significantly higher.
Experts have worried that COVID fatigue as well as the spread of new variants will lead to a new surge of cases this winter.
“Weather is already having some effect on transmission rates,” the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute wrote in its Oct. 21 report on COVID-19 in Virginia. “This is expected to continue. Along with new variants, it could cause a significant surge.”
Despite the recent uptick in cases, all Northern Virginia localities – and, indeed, most of the state – remain in the “low” level of COVID-19 transmission, as measured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health department testing shows that the Omicron BA.5 variant remains dominant statewide, accounting for about 90% of all cases tested. BA.5 has been dominant in Virginia since the early summer.
As of Friday, 484 patients were hospitalized statewide for confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 73 of those in intensive-care units and 23 on ventilators. That is down from over 800 patients in mid-summer but higher than numbers in the spring, when fewer than 200 COVID-19 patients were reported. Statewide hospitalizations peaked in mid-January at nearly 4,000.
The trends are similar in Northern Virginia, where 123 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Friday, down from nearly 200 in early August.
COVID-19 continues to account for about 10 deaths a day statewide on average. As of Friday, 22,189 deaths had been reported in Virginia since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Bruce Potter is Publisher of InsideNoVa. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Bruce loves covid. I bet he was wearing his mask while writing this article. “Surge ahead” lol
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