Coronavirus hospitalizations across Virginia fall to lowest level in a month

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The number of patients currently hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 in Virginia fell to the lowest level in a month Saturday, and the number of patients in intensive care units was at the lowest level since the state hospital association began reporting that data.

Meanwhile, Northern Virginia reported 415 new cases of COVID-19, 52% of the state’s 799 new cases reported Saturday, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The region had 14 new deaths linked to the coronavirus, compared to 9 in the rest of the state.

The state’s total number of COVID-19 cases is now 35,749. The Northern Virginia localities account for more than 55.4% of all cases, or 19,812.

The state’s total number of deaths due to the coronavirus is at 1,159. Northern Virginia accounts for more than half of the overall deaths at 614. The state’s most populous locality, Fairfax County, has reported more than a quarter, 326, with five new deaths in Fairfax reported Friday.

Northern Virginia reported only 15 new hospitalizations, according to the state data, the lowest number in at least two weeks, down from 28 new hospitalizations noted Friday.

The health department’s COVID-19 data is updated each morning by 10 a.m. and includes cases, deaths and hospitalizations reported by local health agencies before 5 p.m. the previous day.

While most of the rest of Virginia enters the second week of the first phase of reopenings, Gov. Ralph Northam has delayed easing restrictions in Northern Virginia until at least next Friday, May 29. More testing, fewer hospitalizations and lower test positivity rates are among the metrics Northam will evaluate in determining whether to allow the region to move into Phase One then.

Average positivity rates over the past seven days range from 19.2% in Loudoun County, up from Friday, to 26% in the Prince William Health District, where testing has increased significantly in recent days. Those numbers have come down slightly since May 15, when the Virginia Department of Health first began making them available by health district.

Statewide, 7,250 diagnostic test results were reported Friday morning, up from 6,543 reported Thursday.

The seven-day average positivity rate statewide is 14.6%. The state has reported 230,683 diagnostic test results in total and over 258,000 when including antibody tests.

Hospitalizations statewide dropped to 1,384, down from 1,459 on Thursday, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. It’s the lowest number since April 23, and well below the high of 1,625 patients May 8. Hospitals still have capacity for over 8,000 additional patients in Virginia, according to the state health department.

The association reported that only 330 patients are in ICU, the lowest number since it began releasing daily reports in early April, and 213 are on ventilators. The association said 5,047 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals in the state since the pandemic began.

The association also began reporting this week data on coronavirus patients and supply needs at licensed nursing homes in the state. It said 1,886 patients are being treated for COVID-19 within those facilities as of Saturday.

The new information represents data reported voluntarily by 262 of the 287 licensed nursing homes in Virginia. Assisted living facilities are not included in the dashboard because they are licensed by the state Department of Social Services, not the health department.

The coronavirus that started in China in late 2019 has led to more than 338,720 deaths, including 96,013 deaths in the U.S., according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. More than 5.23 million cases of the virus have been reported, including more than 1.6 million cases in the U.S.

Johns Hopkins notes that more than 350,000 patients have recovered in the U.S. and more than 2 million have recovered worldwide.

On Friday, Northam indicated he plans to develop regulations requiring Virginians to wear masks in public situations where social distancing is not possible. More details are expected to be announced Tuesday.

Also Friday, the Virginia Employment Commission issued its first monthly report on unemployment levels in the state since the pandemic began. The VEC said 10.6% of Virginians seeking work were unemployed in April, with the Northern Virginia region losing 139,000 jobs since March.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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