COVID-19 hospitalization trends in Virginia

While hospitalizations statewide for treatment of COVID-19 are only about two-thirds of the January peak, the number of patients being treated for the virus in intensive care units hit a new high Friday. 

• Number of new local cases down slightly

• COVID-19 ICU patients hit new high in Virginia

This week, the fourth Rappahannock County resident has died due to COVID-19 since March 2020, and three more residents were hospitalized, according Virginia Department of Health data released Friday morning.

In the county, 13 new COVID-19 cases have been reported since last Friday, raising the county total to 483. That's down from 15 new cases last week and 28 cases the week before. Hospitalizations also increased by 3 this week to a total of 20 since the start of the pandemic last March. This is identical to the increase in local hospitalizations in the previous week.

The number of patients being treated statewide for COVID-19 in intensive-care units hit a record high Friday, as deaths from the virus also increased sharply this week and the Delta variant surge has not yet abated. 

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, which has been tracking hospitalizations since early in the pandemic, reported that 621 confirmed or likely positive coronavirus patients were in ICUs statewide Friday morning.  That's up over 100 patients from a week earlier and easily surpassed the prior high of 588 patients on Jan. 19, during the worst of the winter surge. In addition, the number of patients on ventilators, 343, is just below the January peak of 366.  

The overall number of hospitalizations plateaued a bit this week at 2,174 as of Friday, up just 1.1% from a week earlier.

That's still more than double the number of hospitalizations statewide a year ago, before vaccines were available. Hospitalizations fell as low as 195 in early July, with just 45 patients being treated in ICUs.

A spokesman for the association said last week that the increase in hospitalizations is not nearly as pronounced or sharp in Northern Virginia as it has been in other areas of the state.    

Deaths caused by COVID-19 also jumped this week to 206 statewide, the most since the week ending March 12. 

Meanwhile, the number of new cases, while not increasing as fast as they were earlier in the summer, shows no signs of declining, in the state as a whole. 

Statewide, the seven-day average hit 3,688.7 on Tuesday, the highest level since Feb. 2, and stood at 3,624.3 on Friday. That's over 2 1/2 times the level of a year earlier and represents a 7.2% increase over the past week. 

Northern Virginia's seven-day average remains below that in all four other regions of Virginia, which all have fewer residents:

  • Southwest: 946
  • Eastern: 791
  • Northwest: 776
  • Central: 636 

Meanwhile, updated data on selected outbreaks across the state shows two new outbreaks in our region: Hawksbill Assisted Living in Page County and Children of America in Frederick County.

Existing outbreaks in our area continue at Autumn Care in Madison; Dogwood Village and Trinity Senior Village in Orange; Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury and Mountain View Christian Academy in Frederick County.  

The health department's dashboard showing the number of breakthrough infections show that between Jan. 17 and Sept. 4, 6,697 infections had been reported in fully vaccinated people in Northern Virginia, resulting in 23 deaths.  Statewide, over 23,000 such infections had been reported, a small percentage of the nearly 387,000 overall cases reported in that time. 

The health department says the data show that unvaccinated people are 8.4 times more likely to develop COVID-19 than fully vaccinated individuals and are 7.9 times more likely to die from COVID-19. 

The pace of vaccinations statewide is about 14,800 a day, according to the state's vaccination dashboard. Vaccinations were as low as 11,000 a day in early July but had been as high as 86,000 a day in late March. As of Friday, over 10.39 million vaccine doses had been administered to Virginians, with 70.8% of the adult population and 59.4% of the total population now fully vaccinated. The health department's vaccination numbers were updated this week to include vaccinations administered to Virginians in Maryland, which mostly affected Northern Virginia numbers but did raise the overall percentages slightly.    

In Rappahannock County, 59.5% of the adult population and 51.8% of the total population now fully vaccinated, as of Friday. 

The state's average positivity rate for diagnostic tests remains above 10%, at which point experts believe the spread of the virus is out of control and not all cases are being captured.  Northern Virginia positivity rates remain significantly below the state level, however, and have generally remained steady or fallen slightly.


New Cases/Deaths (Seven days ending Friday, Sept. 17)

  • Rappahannock County: 13 new cases (down from 15 prior week); 1 new death (same as prior week)   

  • Statewide: 25,370 new cases (up from 23,660 prior week), 206 new deaths (up from 137 prior week)

  • Statewide Testing: 182,111 PCR diagnostic test results (up from 157,460 prior week and most since week ending Feb. 12)     

Overall Totals

  • Rappahannock County: 483 cases, 4 deaths (since March 2020) 

  • Statewide: 827,197 cases, 12,242 deaths

  • Statewide Testing: 8.98 million PCR diagnostic tests (12.30 million when including antibody and antigen tests)  

  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 84. One new case reported statewide this week.

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

Statewide Hospital Data (as of Friday, Sept. 17)

  • Hospitalizations: 2,174 (up from 2,150 on Sept. 10)

  • Peak Hospitalizations: 3,209 reached Jan. 13

  • Patients in ICU: 621 (up from 513 on Sept. 10 and the most ever) 

  • Patients Discharged: 65,446 (1,242 this week)

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

Editor's note: Rapp News is providing regular COVID-19 updates every week. For daily reports, visit the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard.

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