HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — On May 1, the Virginia Department of Health began releasing more data that sheds light on outbreaks of coronavirus across the Commonwealth.
VDH defines a COVID-19 outbreak as situations where two or more people test positive for the virus in particular settings, like nursing homes, churches, jails, day cares, and medical facilities.
VDH’s data provides an overview of outbreaks across the Commonwealth — and now, by health district. This data will be updated on VDH’s website daily.
10 On Your Side analyzed the COVID-19 outbreak data on Friday. We compared state data to information provided about our area’s health districts: Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Norfolk, Peninsula, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Western Tidewater.
It is important to note that 10 On Your Side did not include data from the Three Rivers Health District in our analysis. The Three Rivers Health District serves two counties that 10 On Your Side reports on — Mathews and Gloucester — but primarily serves localities that are not in our coverage area.
There are a total of 226 coronavirus outbreaks in Virginia, as of May 1. Nearly 23% of those outbreaks have happened in health districts in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.
The Fairfax Health District has 35 outbreaks — the largest number in Virginia. The Chesterfield Health District, which is located south of Richmond, has the second largest number of outbreaks in Virginia at 15.
At 14 outbreaks each, the Henrico and Peninsula health districts tie for the third largest number of coronavirus outbreaks in Virginia.
The Peninsula Health District represents Newport News, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County.
Only one health district in Virginia has not reported any coronavirus outbreaks: West Piedmont, which is located in south Central Virginia, on the North Carolina border.
There are 51 coronavirus outbreaks in health districts in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.
OUTBREAK ASSOCIATED CASES
Another measure by which VDH measures outbreaks is by the number of cases associated with them. In Virginia, 3,816 coronavirus cases are associated with outbreaks.
It’s important to note that VDH doesn’t include the number of deaths associated with outbreaks in its total number. It does, however, provide the number of deaths by outbreak facility type for the state: 311 in long-term care facilities, 12 in congregate settings, and 1 in a correctional facility.
More than 22% of Virginia’s outbreak associated cases are in health districts in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. This means that 840 positive coronavirus cases are associated with outbreaks in facilities and settings in our region’s health districts.
In our region, the Western Tidewater Health District has the highest number of COVID-19 outbreak associated cases: 275. The Western Tidewater Health District includes Franklin, Isle of Wight County, Southampton County, and Suffolk.
The Eastern Shore Health District — which includes Accomack and Northampton counties — has the second highest number of coronavirus outbreak associated cases: 257.
Norfolk and Portsmouth health districts have the fewest in our region, with 38 coronavirus outbreak associated cases in each city.
The Western Tidewater and Eastern shore health districts rank in the top five across the state for highest numbers of outbreak associated COVID-19 cases:
- Fairfax: 596
- Henrico: 369
- Central Shenandoah: 321
- Western Tidewater: 275
- Eastern Shore: 257
These five health districts account for nearly 48% of all of Virginia’s outbreak associated COVID-19 cases.
A brand-new piece of data provided by VDH is the number of COVID-19 cases in healthcare workers.
Across Virginia, 1,252 healthcare workers have contracted coronavirus. About 15% of those healthcare workers are located in health districts in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.
VDH does not report whether these cases are active or if any healthcare workers have been hospitalized or died due to COVID-19; however, the agency does provide a breakdown of the number of healthcare workers who have contracted coronavirus by health district.
192 healthcare workers have contracted coronavirus in health districts in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.
The Peninsula Health District has the highest number of healthcare workers who have contracted coronavirus: 44. The Chesapeake Health District comes in second with 38 healthcare workers who have caught COVID-19. In our region, the Eastern Shore Health District has the fewest number of healthcare workers who have been infected by coronavirus: 9
Peninsula and Chesapeake rank in the top 10 health districts across the state for highest number of healthcare workers who have been infected with COVID-19.
- Fairfax: 273
- Prince William: 143
- Henrico: 97
- Alexandria: 66
- Lord Fairfax: 61
- Loudon: 50
- Peninsula: 44
- Rappahannock: 40
- Southside: 39
- Chesapeake 38
WHERE ARE OUTBREAKS HAPPENING?
COVID-19 outbreaks are happening in a variety of facilities and settings, including nursing homes, jails, and day cares. Specific types of facilities and settings fall under five different categories defined by VDH:
- Long-term care facilities: assisted living, behavioral health residential, group homes, multicare, and nursing homes
- Congregate settings: Adult daycare programs, apartment complexes, businesses or workplaces, churches, event venues, gyms and spas, military bases, neighborhood streets, private homes, and shelters
- Correctional facilities: correctional facilities
- Healthcare settings: behavioral health inpatient or outpatient medical, fire or EMS, medical facilities, medical offices
- Educational settings: colleges or universities, day cares or pre-K, and schools
VDH provided state numbers for COVID-19 cases and deaths by outbreak in each type of facility or setting:
- Long-term care facilities: 2,412 cases, 311 deaths
- Congregate settings: 664 cases, 12 deaths
- Correctional facilities: 631 cases, 1 death
- Healthcare settings: 73 cases
- Educational settings: 36 cases
VDH also provides some detailed data about outbreaks in specific health districts by facility, but there are limits to what is available.
For example, VDH does provide the exact number of COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities in each health district; however, VDH does not detail how many of those outbreaks are happening in specific locations, like nursing homes.
For example, VDH reports that six outbreaks have happened in long-term care facilities in Chesapeake; however, we do not know exactly how many individual cases these outbreaks represent or the exact type of facilities that have outbreaks in Chesapeake.
10 On Your Side did report on one of the long-term care facility outbreaks in Chesapeake when sixteen residents and staff at Southeastern Virginia Training Center tested positive for coronavirus in April.
Most outbreaks happening in our region are in long-term care facilities or congregate settings.
Chesapeake has the highest number of COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term healthcare facilities in the region, follow by the Peninsula and Western Tidewater health district which each have 5. Portsmouth has the fewest number of coronavirus outbreaks in long-term care facilities, with 1 reported by VDH.
The Peninsula Health District has 7 coronavirus outbreaks in congregate settings. This type of setting has been defined widely by VDH — from adult day care programs and businesses, to apartment complexes and homes. VDH does not make clear where exactly these outbreaks are happening with the preliminary data it has provided.
Half of the regional health districts — Chesapeake, Peninsula, Eastern Shore, and Hampton — report having coronavirus outbreaks in congregate settings; however, we do not know how many individual cases each outbreak represents.
Five of the regional health districts report COVID-19 outbreaks in correctional facilities: Chesapeake, Western Tidewater, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.
Jail and prison populations are especially at risk for COVID-19 spread due to the confined living spaces.
Portsmouth has the highest number of correctional facility outbreaks — 2 — but VDH does not specifically say which jails the outbreaks are happening in. 10 On Your Side did report that 41 inmates and 5 staffers have tested positive for coronavirus at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, which would constitute an outbreak. The Portsmouth City Jail has not not publicly announced any coronavirus positive inmates in its facility.
Only one regional health district — the Peninsula — has reported a COVID-19 outbreak in an educational setting. That outbreak is one of seven in educational settings reported across the entire state.
EXPLORE THE DATA YOURSELF
Although VDH’s new data is an enlightening jumping-off point, it leaves questions unanswered about coronavirus outbreaks in Hampton Roads and on the Eastern Shore. 10 On Your Side will use this data to continue to investigate coronavirus outbreaks in Hampton Roads.
Are you aware of a coronavirus outbreak in Hampton Roads or on the Eastern Shore? Email Adrienne Mayfield at email@example.com.
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