Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the number of long-term care deaths in Virginia. WAVY regrets the error.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia officially surpassed 2,000 total COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, nearly 4 months after reporting its first fatality linked to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the Virginia Department of Health reported.
Of those deaths, at least 1,185 have been in Virginia’s long-term care facilities.
Deaths have been trending down overall since peaking in early May, following a national trend of declining deaths due to the disease. Virginia is now averaging about 3 per day. This can be attributed to record numbers of younger people getting the disease and better hospital outcomes, but the overall number of deaths could go back up with higher levels of virus in the community.
The commonwealth also reported 904 new cases of COVID-19, with Hampton Roads (+472 new cases Thursday) continuing to contribute heavily to a recent uptick in cases.
Norfolk reported a record number of new cases for the second straight day with 146. Virginia Beach added 136.
The percent of positive cases is also going up, with Norfolk up to a record 17.1% 7-day average and Virginia Beach up to 11.4%, more than 8 percentage points higher than late June. Hampton Roads is also seeing an uptick in hospitalizations and deaths.
Dr. Demetria Lindsay, the health director for Virginia Beach and Norfolk, said Wednesday she’s closely watching the numbers locally and says not enough people are wearing masks.
“These are disturbing indicators. We are trending in the wrong direction for many of these indicators … we started to see these rising numbers particularly the spike in cases for 20 to 29-year-olds. We are starting to see a pattern of behavior in those investigations…the issue here is human behavior. We have relaxed our effort, and we need to focus again on following the public health measures.”
- New cases: (+ 904, 74,431 total) — trending up overall, especially in Hampton Roads
- New deaths (+15, 2,007 total) — “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 (+53, 1,134 total) — trending back up overall after falling to low of 783 patients on July 6, ICU and ventilator numbers still low
- Testing (7.2% positive tests overall, at least 6,672 tests conducted Wednesday) 7-day average went above 7% for first time since June 12 on Wednesday, trending up due to increases in Hampton Roads
Here’s the latest count for Hampton Roads and the whole Tidewater region (numbers are cumulative)
Accomack: 1,045 cases, 72 hospitalized, 14 deaths
Chesapeake: 1,509 cases, 161 hospitalized, 24 deaths (+68 cases, +1 hospitalized, +1 death)
Franklin: 83 cases, 6 hospitalized, 4 deaths (+3 cases, +1 death)
Gloucester: 80 cases, 11 hospitalized, 1 death (+1 case)
Hampton: 607 cases, 42 hospitalized, 4 deaths (+15 cases)
Isle of Wight: 245 cases, 17 hospitalized, 9 deaths (+5 cases)
James City County: 390 cases, 59 hospitalized, 16 deaths (+2 cases)
Mathews: 7 cases, 2 hospitalized, 0 deaths
Newport News: 940 cases, 52 hospitalized, 10 deaths (+40 cases, +1 hospitalized)
Norfolk: 1,888 cases, 134 hospitalized, 19 deaths (+146 cases, +1 hospitalized, +1 death)
Northampton: 276 cases 41 hospitalized, 28 deaths (+1 case)
Poquoson: 23 cases, 2 hospitalized, 0 deaths
Portsmouth: 827 cases, 95 hospitalized, 19 deaths (+33 cases, +6 hospitalized)
Southampton: 193 cases, 10 hospitalized, 11 deaths (+7 cases)
Suffolk: 647 cases, 70 hospitalized, 44 deaths (+14 cases, + 1 hospitalized, +2 deaths)
Virginia Beach: 2,272 cases, 142 hospitalized, 34 deaths (+136 cases)
Williamsburg: 88 cases, 12 hospitalized, 6 deaths (+1 case)
York: 181 cases, 11 hospitalized, 3 deaths (+1 case +1 hospitalized)
Key local metrics
- 473 new cases (472 in Hampton Roads region) — near record high of 513 cases, trending up
- 5 new deaths — highest in nearly two weeks, trending up from low June numbers
- 11 new hospitalizations — above 7-day average of 9 and trending up overall
7-day average for percent of positive cases (Hampton Roads 7-day average – 12%)
Chesapeake – 14.5% — rising sharply
Eastern Shore – 2.8% — falling overall
Hampton – 11.4% — rising sharply
Norfolk – 17.1% — rising sharply
Peninsula — 8.7% — rising
Portsmouth — 12.1 % — mostly trending down
Virginia Beach — 11.4% — rising sharply
Western Tidewater — 8.8% — trending up overall
The 12% 7-day average means Hampton Roads is seeing community spread, meaning the source of the infection is unknown. Virginia officials originally set a 10% benchmark to safely reopen the state, and leading health experts said back in May 5% was needed to safely reopen. Virginia as a whole has never hit that 5% mark.
Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday said he’s monitoring the rise in cases in Hampton Roads and says it could move back to phase 2. In the meantime he’s calling on businesses to step up enforcement of face covering requirements and other health guidelines, saying their business license can be suspended if they fail to act.
This article will be updated. For more information from the Virginia Department of Health, click here.