Virginia Jan. 7 COVID-19 update: Record 3,329 patients hospitalized; Sentara postpones non-emergency surgeries


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia recorded its highest-one day number of current COVID hospitalizations of the pandemic on Friday with 3,329 total patients.

545 of those are in the ICU and 297 are on ventilators, below numbers of the 2020-21 winter surge, but only slightly. Most are unvaccinated, data shows, and most of those who were vaccinated but now are hospitalized are at high risk due to age, chronic health conditions, etc. Hospitalizations are also at record levels for kids, and have gone up particularly among those under five years old (who are not able to get the vaccine).

Sentara Healthcare, which is also reporting record hospitalization levels, announced Friday it was postponing hospital-based non-emergency surgeries and procedures starting Monday, January 10 because its staff is stretched so thin. Sentara says they will resume after the current surge has passed.

“The current strain on all healthcare facilities is undeniable. We must balance the urgent need to care for large numbers of COVID-19 patients with what is being asked of our dedicated staff,” said Mike Gentry, Sentara Healthcare Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “We cannot care for our community without first supporting our team members as they so expertly manage this large number of patients.”

Statewide metrics

  • New cases: +18,309 (1,221,036 total), 14,645 on average (highest levels of pandemic)
  • Deaths: +9 (15,651 total), has been down (9 per day on average now) but VDH says there’s a reporting delay this month as it applies new federal guidelines for COVID-19 associated deaths
  • Current hospitalizations: +235 patients (3,235 total currently, a record, 2,785 7-day average) ICU numbers almost near 2020-21 surge (545 in ICU now, up 19 patients from Thursday vs. upper 500s in winter surge), ventilator usage (297 patients) is lower than 2020-21 surge (topped out around 350 patients) but climbing
  • (2,536 total beds still available statewide, 450 for ICU
  • Test positivity: 34.6%, rising and at record levels, up from 5-6% last month
  • Vaccine doses administered: 14,180,375
  • Percent of population with at least one dose: 77.8% (6,637,793)
  • Percent of adults (18+) with at least one dose: 89.1%
  • Percent of population fully vaccinated: 67.9% (5,7,94,359)
  • Percent of adults fully vaccinated: 78.3%
  • People vaccinated with booster/third dose: 2,143,981

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, which represents hospital chains across the commonwealth, issued a statement on Friday about the record numbers and said the current situation is serious. They’ve been encouraging people who have either “mild” or moderate symptoms, or those seeking a COVID test, to avoid coming to hospitals to avoid straining the system further.

“As adaptable as hospitals have been, it is important to remember that the health care delivery system does not have unlimited resources (for instance, staffing challenges which pre-dated the pandemic have been magnified due to various factors including staff who are sidelined while isolated/quarantining due to illness or exposure),” the VHHA said. “The current situation is serious and if things remain on the current trajectory for an extended period – particularly because we know hospitalizations as a metric tend to slightly lag behind rising case counts, and some of the modeling projections suggest that this current surge may not yet have reached the point where it will crest and begin to recede (some modeling suggests that may occur later this month) – we could face the possibility of straining the limits of the system’s capacity.”

Though hospitalizations are at record levels, there a much fewer hospitalizations on a case-by-case basis. Virginia’s average of new cases reporting per day is more than double that winter 2020-21 surge, with nearly 15,000 per day on average now compared to just over in January 2021. 18,309 new cases were reported on Friday alone, and 34.6% of tests are coming back positive on average.

Fewer people comparatively are dying of COVID as well overall, but the U.S. is still reporting more than 1,400 COVID deaths per day. (Virginia’s have been down, but there is also some reporting lag this month as VDH updates its system to go along with national guidance for reporting COVID-associated deaths).

Here’s VDH’s chart for deaths according to the day on the death certificate.

VDH’s deaths by data of death chart

Local cases

  • Accomack: 4,927 cases, 349 hospitalized, 84 deaths (+87 cases, +1 hospitalized)
  • Chesapeake: 36,815 cases, 1,412 hospitalized, 382 deaths (+685 cases, +11 hospitalized)
  • Franklin: 1,920 cases, 79 hospitalized, 44 deaths (+25 cases, -1 hospitalized)
  • Gloucester: 4,964 cases, 94 hospitalized, 83 deaths (+98 cases)
  • Hampton: 19,601 cases, 828 hospitalized, 257 deaths (+419 cases, +25 hospitalized)
  • Isle of Wight: 5,504 cases, 256 hospitalized, 93 deaths (+67 cases, +4 hospitalized)
  • James City County: 9,558 cases, 301 hospitalized, 100 deaths (+140 cases)
  • Mathews: 1,098 cases, 30 hospitalized, 24 deaths (+24 cases)
  • Newport News: 26,065 cases, 881 hospitalized, 320 deaths (+459 cases, +17 hospitalized)
  • Norfolk: 30,934 cases, 1,684 hospitalized, 370 deaths (+642 cases, +51 hospitalized)
  • Northampton: 1,401 cases, 112 hospitalized, 49 deaths (+38 cases, +1 hospitalized)
  • Poquoson: 1,638 cases, 38 hospitalized, 23 deaths (+34 cases)
  • Portsmouth: 16,100 cases, 1017 hospitalized, 256 deaths (+286 cases, +9 hospitalized)
  • Southampton: 2,657 cases, 92 hospitalized, 74 deaths (+23 cases)
  • Suffolk: 13,867 cases, 830 hospitalized, 258 deaths (+261 cases, +12 hospitalized)
  • Virginia Beach: 65,529 cases, 3,087 hospitalized, 605 deaths(+1,308 cases, +64 hospitalized, +2 deaths)
  • Williamsburg: 1,384 cases, 47 hospitalized, 13 deaths (+9 cases, +3 hospitalized)
  • York: 6,955 cases, 152 hospitalized, 87 deaths (+80 cases)

To view local virus data and more, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website.

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