PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia reported a staggeringly high 12,112 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and more than 2,000 current COVID patients hospitalized, just below peak hospitalization levels of the summer delta wave.

7,616 cases are being reported in the commonwealth per day on average and a record 17.4% of tests are coming back positive on average.

Gov. Ralph Northam shared the statement below on Twitter, saying the spike in case is a “reason for concern, but not a reason for panic.” Northam urged Virginians to get vaccinated, as the overwhelming number of hospitalizations are in unvaccinated people, data shows.

“This is entirely avoidable, if everyone gets their shots,” Northam said, thanking the millions of Virginians who’ve already gotten vaccinated.

Eight localities in the Hampton Roads region reported their highest single day case count Wednesday: Hampton (233 new cases), Isle of Wight (42 new cases), James City (123 new cases), Newport News (262 new cases), Norfolk (287 new cases), Portsmouth (196 new cases), Suffolk (137 new cases) and Virginia Beach (655 new cases.)

Hospitalizations are also on the rise. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare association added 100 new patients in the last 24 hours. Data for the entire state shows a 118% increase in hospitalizations so far this month.

10 On Your Side checked on numbers in local hospitals. The Sentara Healthcare System reports 282 COVID-19 patients total across its 12 facilities on the Southside, and Virginia Peninsula. Riverside reports 75 in its facilities, and Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters says it is seeing an uptick in positive test results, but not in hospitalizations.

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital is reporting a record-breaking week in its emergency department.

ED manager Shane Squires told WAVY, “Since the day after Christmas our volumes have increased exponentially.”

He said they are seeing a lot of people with flu-like and cold-like symptoms.

“I would say it’s more than it’s ever been. We are seeing higher volume. This is probably the volume that we thought we were originally going to see that we’re actually seeing right now,” he said.

This comes as the U.S., western Europe and other countries are reporting record case levels. The U.S. reported a record 7-day case average of 262,034 cases per day on Tuesday, and 1.8 million cases in the past week.

Virginia’s current hospitalization levels (2,014 patients as of Wednesday, an increase of 108 patients from Tuesday and an increase of more than 900 patients since Dec. 1) are just under the peak of the summer delta wave (between 2,100-2,200 patients), however on Tuesday we learned that there might still be many more cases/hospitalizations involving the delta variant than previous reported by the CDC.

The CDC revised previous reported data that originally said that the more contagious omicron was accounting for 73% of all cases in the U.S. ending the week of Dec. 18. That number was revised to 22.3%.

As of this past week (ending Dec. 25) omicron accounted for about 59% of all U.S. infections and delta accounted for 41%.

Preliminary data shows omicron appears to be milder than delta, and a significant chunk of this recent hospitalization wave in Virginia (and elsewhere) could be linked more to delta than omicron. That’s still not entirely clear, but brings hope that hospitalizations could drop back down as omicron displaces delta.

At the moment though “delta and omicron are twin threats that are driving up cases to record numbers, which again is leading to spikes in hospitalizations and deaths,” said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference on Wednesday. 

While vaccinated people (especially those with boosters) will likely be asymptomatic or have “mild cases” with omicron, delta and omicron are still a major threat to the unvaccinated, with nearly all hospitalizations and deaths among the unvaccinated. Unvaccinated people are also much more likely to be infected, data shows.

If you were already considered fully vaccinated, it’s recommended that you get a booster shot. Boosters of mRNA vaccines from Pfizer & Moderna can significantly increase antibodies to not only prevent severe symptoms but help prevent infection itself.

Hampton Roads healthcare leaders from Bon Secours, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Riverside Health System and Sentara Healthcare also issued a joint statement Wednesday urging those in the community to get fully vaccinated.

The statement reads: “The COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. have been proven to be safe and effective in reducing one’s risk of contracting COVID-19, as well as preventing hospitalization or severe consequences. Due to the highly contagious nature of the Omicron variant, full vaccination, including boosters for those eligible, is recommended to all community members.”

State metrics

  • New cases (+12,112, 1,075,288 total), 7,613 on average (highest levels of pandemic)
  • Deaths (+37, 15,541 total), rising again after falling to 12 per day
  • Current hospitalizations (+108, 2,014 total currently,1,716 7-day average), rising but still below summer delta wave, 412 in ICU (2,671 total beds still available statewide, 414 for ICU)
  • Test positivity: 17.4%, rising and at record levels (earliest peak in April 2020 had few overall tests) up from 5-6% last month

Vaccine data (not updated for Dec. 29 yet)

  • Vaccine doses administered: 13,882,230
  • Percent of population with at least one dose: 76.9% (6,565,927)
  • Percent of adults (18+) with at least one dose: 88.3%
  • Percent of population fully vaccinated: 67.4% (5,751,692)
  • Percent of adults fully vaccinated: 77.9%
  • People vaccinated with booster/third dose: 1,958,393

Local Coronavirus Data:

  • Accomack: 4,463 cases, 341 hospitalized, 83 deaths ( 17 cases, 1 hospitalized)
  • Chesapeake: 32,469 cases, 1,313 hospitalized, 380 deaths (282 cases, 12 hospitalized, 3 deaths)
  • Franklin: 1,763 cases, 75 hospitalized, 44 deaths (8 cases, -1 hospitalized)
  • Gloucester: 4,379 cases, 89 hospitalized, 83 deaths ( 33 cases)
  • Hampton: 16,979 cases, 655 hospitalized, 256 deaths (233 cases, 12 hospitalized)
  • Isle of Wight: 4,973 cases, 231 hospitalized, 93 deaths (42 cases, 3 hospitalized)
  • James City County: 8,261 cases, 245 hospitalized, 100 deaths (123 cases, 1 hospitalized)
  • Mathews: 994 cases, 28 hospitalized, 24 deaths (5 cases)
  • Newport News: 22,897 cases, 706 hospitalized, 320 deaths (262 cases, 16 hospitalized, 1 deaths)
  • Norfolk: 27,175 cases, 1,378 hospitalized, 369 deaths (287 cases, 50 hospitalized)
  • Northampton: 1,239 cases, 108 hospitalized, 49 deaths (4 cases)
  • Poquoson: 1,492 cases, 37 hospitalized, 23 deaths (10 cases)
  • Portsmouth: 14,089 cases, 922 hospitalized, 256 deaths (196 cases, 13 hospitalized)
  • Southampton: 2,534 cases, 89 hospitalized, 74 deaths (15 cases, 1 death)
  • Suffolk: 12,207 cases, 734 hospitalized, 259 deaths (137 cases, 12 hospitalized, 3 deaths)
  • Virginia Beach: 56,838 cases, 2,569 hospitalized, 599 deaths (655 cases, 104 hospitalized, 3 deaths)
  • Williamsburg: 1,307 cases, 34 hospitalized, 13 deaths (1 case)
  • York: 6,305 cases, 130 hospitalized, 86 deaths ( 69 cases)