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Vaccination rate now below state average, but it still outpace neighbors

A week after Virginia ended its COVID-19 restrictions, the number of new cases of the virus continues to plummet statewide. 

In Rappahannock County, cases were actually revised down during the past two weeks, from 359 since last March on May 24 to 344 on Friday. Total hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic, which held steady in recent months at 16, increased to 17 in the latest report from the Virginia Department of Health. Total deaths due to COVID-19 have remained at 2 since last summer.

In Northern Virginia, which has more than 2 million residents, no more than 40 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in any of the previous seven days, and the region's seven-day average of new cases is down to 23.9 per day as of Friday, its lowest level since March 26, 2020, when the pandemic was just a couple of weeks old.

The region has reported just 167 total cases in the past week, according to updated data from the Virginia Department of Health. As recently as May 10, it was averaging more than 167 new cases a day. 

Statewide, the seven-day average of new cases is down to 208.1, the lowest level since April 3, 2020. 

The state ended its COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings and lifted all capacity limits and social-distancing requirements on May 28 and said that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks. Virginia's state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic is scheduled to expire June 30, and Gov. Ralph Northam has not yet indicated whether he will extend it. 

Statewide hospitalizations were as low as 446 on Tuesday, according to data from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. That's the fewest since the association began reporting hospitalizations in early April 2020. The number of patients being treated in intensive-care units and on ventilators also hit new lows this week. 

In Northern Virginia, though, hospitalizations were slightly above their low of 100 on May 24, with 122 patients hospitalized as of Friday. Northern Virginia's hospitalizations peaked at 818 on April 30, 2020, while state hospitalizations peaked at over 3,200 in mid-January.

Test positivity rates across the region and state continue to set new record lows, although the number of diagnostic test results reported this week was the fewest since the week ending May 22, 2020.  Fewer than 10,000 test results a day are now being reported statewide. Public health experts generally believe if the rate is below 5% then the spread of the virus is under control. 

Deaths related to COVID-19 have also continued to decline, although at a slower pace than other measures. The health department reported 66 new deaths statewide this week. 

Vaccinations

The state continues to creep toward meeting President Joe Biden's goal of 70% of all adults (ages 18+) having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. Statewide, that number now stands at 67.6%, up from 66.4% a week ago, according to the Virginia Department of Health's vaccine dashboard, and 56.6% of adults are fully vaccinated. Among all Virginians, 55.4% have received at least one dose, and 45.1% are fully vaccinated.   

But in Rappahannock, which had long outpaced the statewide vaccination rate, the number of fully vaccinated residents stands at 43.2% as of Friday, below the Virginia average. The number of residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine is 52.4% as of Friday.

However, Rappahannock continues to outpace its neighbors in Fauquier, Culpeper, Warren and Page counties in terms of the percent of residents vaccinated.

The pace of vaccinations around Virginia dropped sharply this week, in part likely due to the Memorial Day weekend, with a current seven-day average at about 28,000 doses per day statewide. That's the lowest that measure has been since late January.     

LATEST COVID-19 DATA

New Cases/Deaths (Friday)

  • Statewide: 259 new cases, 6 new deaths.

  • Statewide Testing: 12,616 PCR diagnostic test results.     

Overall Total

  • Northern Virginia: 184,088 cases, 2,359 deaths  

  • Statewide: 676,300 cases, 11,222 deaths

  • Statewide Testing: 7.417 million PCR diagnostic tests (9.88 million when including antibody and antigen tests)  

  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 75 

*Provided by Virginia Department of Health. The health department's COVID-19 data is updated each morning by 10 a.m. and includes reports by local health agencies before 5 p.m. the previous day.


Statewide Hospital and Nursing Home Data

  • Hospitalizations: 480 (down from 498 the previous day)

  • Peak Hospitalizations: 3,209 reached Jan. 13

  • Patients in ICU: 112 (down from 129 the previous day and lowest since data first reported in April 2020)

  • Patients Discharged: 56,566

For updated national and international COVID-19 data, visit the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard.

See more headlines at InsideNoVa.com. Email tips to info@insidenova.com.

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