PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia reported 946 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Wednesday, more than 100 cases higher than its 7-day rolling average, just two days before most of the state enters “Phase 1” of its economic reopening plan.

The Virginia Department of Health also reported 36 new COVID-19 deaths and 8,845 new tests.

May 13 data from the Virginia Department of Health

After dipping three straight days at the end of last week, daily reported cases have trended up over the past week with increases in testing.

Virginia is averaging about 6,500 tests per day as of May 13, just over 2,000 more tests per day compared to two weeks ago, with asymptomatic people being tested more and more. Though experts have said Virginia still needs much more testing in place, about 16,600 tests per day, to safely start to reopen by May 15.

Testing asymptomatic patients (those without symptoms) is critical to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially as people begin to return to work, health officials say. Health officials on the Eastern Shore are hoping that Accomack’s two chicken plants, a major source of cases there, will allow asymptomatic patients to stay at home.

Currently federal guidance from the CDC allows asymptomatic workers to go to work if they’re not symptomatic, officials say, but asymptomatic people can still spread the virus.

Though daily reported cases continue to rise, the percentage of positive cases statewide, a key but not the sole metric Virginia officials are looking at to gauge progress, has been trending down for more than two weeks.

Virginia is now averaging 14% positive cases, VDH data shows, but that overall number is skewed by a disproportionately high positive rate in Northern Virginia, which has been around 25%, compared to about 10% for the rest of the state. Experts, including the World Health Organization, have said a 10% or lower positive case rate is needed to safely start to reopen.

Most of Virginia’s new daily cases each day are coming from Northern Virginia and localities in that region asked to delay Phase 1, a request Gov. Ralph Northam granted on Tuesday.

The statewide positive rate was about 20% two weeks ago, on April 29.

Wednesday’s increase in deaths statewide (36) was the second straight of deaths well above the 7-day average. 41 deaths were reported Tuesday. Before that, Virginia had three straight days of deaths of 15 or below.

1,526 are currently hospitalized statewide, slightly lower than the 1,563 7-day average, per VHHA dashboard. Here’s the latest hospital breakdown from VDH.

Here’s the latest for Tidewater as of May 13:

Accomack: 545 cases, 24 hospitalized 7 deaths
Chesapeake: 354 cases, 75 hospitalized, 9 deaths
Franklin: 25 cases, 2 hospitalized, 1 death
Gloucester: 28 cases, 7 hospitalized, 1 death
Hampton: 148 cases, 29 hospitalized, 3 deaths
Isle of Wight: 113 cases, 10 hospitalized, 3 deaths
James City County: 174 cases, 53 hospitalized, 15 deaths
Mathews: 5 cases, 1 hospitalized, 0 deaths
Newport News: 171 cases, 36 hospitalized, 10 deaths
Norfolk: 327 cases, 52 hospitalized, 5 deaths
Northampton: 174 cases 10 hospitalized, 5 deaths
Poquoson: 7 cases, 2 hospitalized, 0 deaths
Portsmouth: 213 cases, 39 hospitalized, 9 deaths
Southampton: 132 cases, 4 hospitalized, 2 deaths
Suffolk: 221 cases, 40 hospitalized, 21 deaths
Virginia Beach: 519 cases, 85 hospitalized, 18 deaths
Williamsburg: 42 cases, 9 hospitalized, 3 deaths
York: 60 cases, 8 hospitalized, 2 deaths

Quick facts:

  • 56 new cases were reported in Tidewater compared to Tuesday, 5.9% of the statewide total. On Tuesday there were 34 new cases in Tidewater, 4.6% of the statewide increase of 730 new cases.
  • 2 new deaths were reported in Tidewater, 1 in Southampton County and another in Suffolk
  • Accomack and Northampton counties combined for only 18 new cases, meaning we’re still possibly awaiting some test results from Accomack’s Perdue and Tyson plants. Health officials told the Eastern Shore Post this week that results from public testing last weekend at the Eastern Shore Community College likely won’t be known until late this week or early next week.
  • Buckingham County in the central part of the state has passed Accomack for 2nd in the state in per capita cases after reporting 101 new cases in the last two days. Accomack and Northampton are now 3rd and 4th in per capita cases.

For a closer look at each Virginia locality, click here.

To see data broken down by zip code, click here.

This article will be updated.

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