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HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton Roads blew past its previous one-day record of new COVID-19 cases on Friday as the state reported its highest number of new cases since early June.
Of the 943 new cases statewide, 351, more than 1/3, were in Hampton Roads. Cases in the region have skyrocketed in recent weeks to more than 220 cases per day on average. The region had been averaging about 70 cases per day or less since about 2 weeks ago.
The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission tracks the cases daily on their website as well, with charts of cases, deaths and hospitalizations. Here’s Hampton Roads’ chart of new cases:
With the increases in cases, Hampton Roads is also seeing a slight uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations (though still well below April figures) and deaths are back up after falling in June (though still below early May numbers). Both hospitalizations and deaths lag cases. Deaths had been down recently nationwide in June, with experts attributing it to better hospitalization outcomes and more young people with the disease (that’s also the case locally).
Here’s the latest count for Hampton Roads and the whole Tidewater region (numbers are cumulative)
Accomack: 1,042 cases, 72 hospitalized, 14 deaths
Chesapeake: 1,162 cases, 156 hospitalized, 22 deaths (+45 cases, +1 hospitalized)
Franklin: 69 cases, 5 hospitalized, 3 deaths (+3 cases)
Gloucester: 65 cases, 11 hospitalized, 1 death (+1 case, +1 hospitalized)
Hampton: 454 cases, 40 hospitalized, 4 deaths (+30 cases)
Isle of Wight: 215 cases, 16 hospitalized, 9 deaths (+6 cases)
James City County: 332 cases, 58 hospitalized, 16 deaths (+9 cases)
Mathews: 7 cases, 2 hospitalized, 0 deaths
Newport News: 679 cases, 46 hospitalized, 10 deaths (+20 cases)
Norfolk: 1,360 cases, 123 hospitalized, 15 deaths (+71 cases, +3 hospitalized, +1 death)
Northampton: 273 cases 41 hospitalized, 28 deaths (+1 case)
Poquoson: 20 cases, 2 hospitalized, 0 deaths
Portsmouth: 627 cases, 83 hospitalized, 18 deaths (+22 cases, +1 hospitalized)
Southampton: 170 cases, 8 hospitalized, 10 deaths (+2 cases, +1 death)
Suffolk: 526 cases, 67 hospitalized, 42 deaths (+22 cases, +1 hospitalized, +2 deaths)
Virginia Beach: 1,663 cases, 133 hospitalized, 30 deaths (+116 cases, +3 hospitalized)
Williamsburg: 78 cases, 12 hospitalized, 6 deaths
York: 144 cases, 10 hospitalized, 3 deaths (+4 cases)
Key local metrics:
- 352 new cases — 351 in Hampton Roads (by far the highest daily increase, 4th day of record breaking numbers)
- 4 new deaths (above 7-day average — Virginia’s highest average of deaths per day was 4 back in early May)
- 10 new hospitalizations (above 7-day average) — peak in hospitalizations was 18 in early May
7-day average for percent of positive cases (region 7-day avg. 10.5% — excluding Eastern Shore)
All of Hampton Roads’ health districts (excluding Eastern Shore) are reporting rises, with many reporting steep increases, despite increased or stagnant testing.
Chesapeake – 11.2% — steep rise, doubled in last two weeks with stagnant testing
Eastern Shore – 2.3% — trending down overall, lowest point of pandemic
Hampton – 9.5% — sharp increase, nearly double from just over a week ago
Norfolk – 16.3% — sharp rise since late June to highest percent of pandemic
Peninsula — 7.8% — trending up, more than double percentage two weeks ago
Portsmouth — 14 % — trending up overall, similar to late May numbers, but not rising as sharply as Chesapeake and Norfolk
Virginia Beach — 7.2% — more than double percentage two weeks ago
Western Tidewater — 7.7% — steep increase, up 3% from two weeks ago
Local health experts say the root of Hampton Roads’ spike in cases is tricky to pin down, but it most likely comes from group gatherings combined with a lack of social distancing and lack of masks.
“Really what we’re seeing is people under the age of 50 are the ones causing this spike in cases, ”Dr. Edward Oldfield at Eastern Virginia Medical School said.
Hampton Roads and the rest of the state are contributing to the increase in cases, with Northern Virginia’s numbers continuing to decline.
Accounting for population differences, Hampton Roads is creeping up toward Northern Virginia’s high daily case numbers of the pandemic. Hampton Roads is just over half the population of Northern Virginia, so if you double Hampton Roads’ 7-day average of about 220 cases, that’s in the same territory as Northern Virginia’s early May numbers. Their daily cases peaked at 652 per day in late May.
On Friday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said modifications to state coronavirus reopening guidelines may be made as Hampton Roads continues to see increases, including reducing the cap on gatherings, which is currently at 250 people, and restrictions on restaurants and bars.
He’s expected to provide updates during a briefing Tuesday at 2 p.m.
In addition to the major increases in case numbers statewide, hospitalizations are climbing back up (back over 1,000 patients) and more than 100 deaths have been reported in the last four days. Percent of positive tests are also trending back up.
- New cases: (+ 943, 68,931 total) — 7-day average now at 648 per day
- New deaths (+21, 1,958 total) — 105 new deaths reported in last four days. “Deaths by day of death,” which shows the actual day a COVID-19 patient died, continues to decline from peak of 37 per day in early May, but the reported deaths are up after dipping in June
- Hospitalizations (+50, 1,006 total) — hospitalizations trending back up after numbers of total COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU patients and ventilator patients dropped to their lowest levels to date on Monday
- Testing (6.3% 7-day average, 765,889 total tests, tests per day above 11K on average) – trending up
Virginia has mostly been doing well compared to the rest of the country, one of 12 states or U.S. territories with cases remaining mostly the same. Meanwhile nearly all of the rest of the country is seeing increasing cases as the U.S. continues to report record high case numbers. More than 3 million cumulative cases have been reported in the U.S. with more than 133,000 deaths.
For more information from the Virginia Department of Health, click here.