PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk reported a staggering 95 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday as Hampton Roads broke another record for new daily cases with 261.
Newport News also reported a one-day high of 25 cases, it’s third straight day of record high numbers. It’s reported 75 new cases in last four days.
The Virginia Department of Health shows the cases by day that symptoms started, showing most of these new cases were contracted before Virginia moved to phase 3 on July 1. There’s a high of 218 patients on June 29, but with a 5-day average before symptoms start, those cases were likely contracted at least a week before that point, with test results taking anywhere from 2 days to over a week. (More on testing delays here).
The region’s average number of new daily cases has now more than tripled compared to two weeks ago, when it was averaging around 75 cases per day. The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission has a chart of the reported daily case increases.
The record number of cases are also coming with increases in the percent of positive tests, especially in Norfolk, where the percent positivity rate has shot up to 14.3%. Virginia Beach, Hampton, Chesapeake, the Peninsula Health District (which includes Newport News) and Western Tidewater (which includes Suffolk) are also seeing increases in their positive rates despite increased or stagnant testing.
Norfolk also reported at least 499 new PCR tests from Wednesday, its second highest so far. Just over 12% of those tests came back positive.
Average deaths are still below Hampton Roads’ highest 7-day average of 4 per day back in early May, but deaths are trending back up after falling in June. Hospitalizations are also trending back up with the increased virus level in the community.
Both hospitalizations and deaths lag cases, meaning the region could see its highest levels of both in the near future. However like the rest of the country, Hampton Roads is seeing higher levels of cases in people under the age of 40, a demographic less likely to die of COVID-19 complications. Hospitalized COVID-19 patients across the country are also dying less than earlier in the pandemic.
Both the cause for the drop in COVID-19 fatalities and increase in positive hospitalization outcomes are still unknown, but reporter Derek Thompson at the Atlantic magazine tried to break the phenomenon down in a new article Thursday.
Local experts tell 10 On Your Side it’s hard to pinpoint one reason for a spike in cases, 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.
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: 1,117 cases, 155 hospitalized, 22 deaths (+29 cases)
Franklin: 66 cases, 5 hospitalized, 3 deaths (+5 cases, +1 death)
Gloucester: 64 cases, 10 hospitalized, 1 death (+12 cases, +1 hospitalized)
Hampton: 424 cases, 40 hospitalized, 4 deaths (+15 cases, -1 hospitalized, +1 death)
Isle of Wight: 209 cases, 16 hospitalized, 9 deaths (+5 cases)
James City County: 323 cases, 58 hospitalized, 16 deaths (+10 cases)
Mathews: 7 cases, 2 hospitalized, 0 deaths
Newport News: 659 cases, 46 hospitalized, 10 deaths (+25 cases, +1 hospitalization)
Norfolk: 1,289 cases, 120 hospitalized, 14 deaths (+95 cases, +1 hospitalized)
Northampton: 272 cases 41 hospitalized, 28 deaths
Poquoson: 20 cases, 2 hospitalized, 0 death (+1 case)
Portsmouth: 605 cases, 82 hospitalized, 18 deaths (+12 cases, +3 hospitalized)
Southampton: 168 cases, 8 hospitalized, 9 deaths (+2 cases, +1 death)
Suffolk: 504 cases, 66 hospitalized, 40 deaths (+17 cases, +2 hospitalized, +2 deaths)
Virginia Beach: 1,547 cases, 130 hospitalized, 30 deaths (+27 cases, +2 hospitalized)
Williamsburg: 78 cases, 12 hospitalized, 6 deaths (+1 case)
York: 140 cases, 10 hospitalized, 3 deaths (+5 cases)
Key local metrics:
- 261 new cases in Hampton Roads (third straight record breaking day) — 7 day average: 187 cases
- 5 new deaths (second straight day above 7-day average of 2.4 per day — highest 7-day average was 4.1 on May 7.
- +10 hospitalizations (Higher than 7-day average of 8.1 per day) — VDH reported hospitalizations above lag Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association current figures.
7-day average for percent of positive cases (region 7-day 9.38% — excluding Eastern Shore)
- Chesapeake – 10.2% (+0.5%) — steep rise, highest since late May, testing numbers stagnant
- Eastern Shore – 4.2% (-0.3%) — trending down overall, 1,370 new tests reported June 30
- Hampton – 7.5%% (+0.6%) — trending up overall, +2% compared to last week
- Norfolk – 14.3% (+0.4%) — sharp rise since late June, up more than 9%
- Peninsula — 6.7% (+0.4%) — trending up overall
- Portsmouth — 13.2 % (-0.4%) — trending up overall, similar to late May numbers, but not rising as sharply as Chesapeake and Norfolk
- Virginia Beach — 6.4% (+0.5%) — steady rise since low of 1.8% on June 6
- Western Tidewater — 7.4% (+1%) highest since late May despite increase in testing
- New cases: (+ 613, 67,988 total) — 7-day average has topped 600 cases per day for first time since early June
- New deaths (+32, 1,937 total) — 84 new deaths reported in last three 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
- Hospitalizations (-15, 956 total) — Down slightly after 188 new patients admitted in previous two days, 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, Tests per day above 11K on average, Hampton Roads causing increase
Virginia is doing well compared to the rest of the country, which saw more than 62,000 new cases on Wednesday, another record. Arizona, Florida and South Carolina have more new cases per capita than every country on earth, the New York Times reported.
For more information on each locality from the Virginia Department of Health, click here.