Virginia Dec. 24 COVID-19 update: 8,756 new cases reported, a new statewide record, as omicron surges

Coronavirus

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — On Christmas Eve, Virginia reported a whopping — and what appears to be a new — actual one-day record of 8,756 new coronavirus cases.

Virginia did report 9,914 new cases back on Jan. 17, 2021, during the winter 2021 surge, but the Virginia Department of Health was inputting backlogged cases after days of reporting that were much lower.

Compared to that day, Virginia’s seeing sustained increases of high case numbers, with 5,972 cases reported on Wednesday and 6,473 on Friday. The highest jumps in new cases are mostly in Northern Virginia, per the New York Times’ coronavirus tracker, with a nearly 400% jump in cases in 14 days in Alexandria.

While fully vaccinated and boosted Virginians have seen breakthrough infections, unvaccinated people are getting infected at a rate way above vaccinated people — 814 infections per 100,000 people for the unvaccinated compared to just 86 per 100,000 people for the vaccinated, Virginia Department of Health data shows. Meanwhile, those getting hospitalized and dying are overwhelmingly unvaccinated, data shows.

VDH’s testing reporting is still showing lower test numbers compared to the 2020-21 surge, but the percentage of positive tests is at similar levels (11.3% as of Friday) and steeply rising.

State metrics

  • New cases (+8,756, 1,049,336 total), 5,135 on average, rising and higher than summer delta wave
  • Deaths (+37, 15,294 total), rising again (30 per day) after falling to 12 per day
  • Current hospitalizations (+5, 1,579 total currently), rising, but not like the delta surge and still less than half of peak winter surge last year, 382 in ICU (2,709 total beds left statewide, 444 for ICU)
  • Test positivity: 11.3%, rising overall, up from 5-6% last month

*Vaccine data not updated (data below as of Dec. 23)

  • Vaccine doses administered: 13,765,400
  • Percent of population with at least one dose: 76.6% (6,538,885)
  • Percent of adults (18+) with at least one dose: 88%
  • Percent of population fully vaccinated: 67.2% (5,736,781)
  • Percent of adults fully vaccinated: 77.8%
  • People vaccinated with booster/third dose: 1,882,832

Hospitalizations at this time are still significantly lower than the 2020-21 peak when vaccines weren’t available to the public, they’re still climbing and impacting already exhausted health care workers. 1,579 people were hospitalized as of Friday, with 381 in the ICU. 2,893 total beds and 442 ICU beds were still available in Virginia as of Friday.

Deaths are so slowly increasing as well, up 30 per day on average, though numbers are still below the delta wave and well below the 2020-21 winter wave.

Fully vaccinated people still have strong protection against severe illness with omicron, but health experts say getting an mRNA booster not only increases that protection significantly, it always helps prevent getting the infection in the first place.

“Get vaccinated, get boosted, mask up, wash your hands, social distance because all these things work. That kind of layered strategy is what will help us to keep cases under control,” said Dr. Brooke Rossheim, a public health physician specialist with the Virginia Department of Health.

Getting a “mild” case can still make you feel really sick even if you are vaccinated and it can take a while to recover. Then there’s the possibility for “long COVID,” which can bring extreme fatigue, brain fog and other debilitating symptoms that can last for months.

Local cases

  • Accomack: 4,390 cases, 338 hospitalized, 83 deaths (+13 cases, +5 hospitalized)
  • Chesapeake: 31,522 cases, 1,266 hospitalized, 377 deaths (+170 cases, +4 hospitalized, +2 deaths)
  • Franklin: 1,738 cases, 74 hospitalized, 44 deaths (+11 cases, +1 hospitalized)
  • Gloucester: 4,280 cases, 87 hospitalized, 83 deaths (+22 cases)
  • Hampton: 16,388 cases, 609 hospitalized, 252 deaths (+101 cases, +7 hospitalized)
  • Isle of Wight: 4,869 cases, 224 hospitalized, 93 deaths (+19 cases, +1 hospitalized)
  • James City County: 7,966 cases, 238 hospitalized, 100 deaths (+63 cases)
  • Mathews: 975 cases, 28 hospitalized, 24 deaths (+7 cases, +1 hospitalized)
  • Newport News: 22,240 cases, 672 hospitalized, 313 deaths (+119 cases, +4 hospitalized)
  • Norfolk: 26,417 cases, 1,321 hospitalized, 367 deaths (+162 cases, +1 hospitalized, +1 death)
  • Northampton: 1,224 cases, 107 hospitalized, 48 deaths (+3 cases)
  • Poquoson: 1,461 cases, 37 hospitalized, 23 deaths (+11 cases)
  • Portsmouth: 13,618 cases, 897 hospitalized, 255 deaths (+81 cases, +4 hospitalized)
  • Southampton: 2,510 cases, 89 hospitalized, 72 deaths (+5 cases)
  • Suffolk: 11,876 cases, 707 hospitalized, 254 deaths (+68 cases, +1 hospitalized)
  • Virginia Beach: 54,811 cases, 2,362 hospitalized, 590 deaths (+361 cases, +24 hospitalized)
  • Williamsburg: 1,297 cases, 32 hospitalized, 13 deaths (+6 cases, +1 hospitalized)
  • York: 6,099 cases, 129 hospitalized, 84 deaths (+71 cases, +1 hospitalized)

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