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Virginia COVID-19 cases continue accelerating to 5,747

Graphic courtesy: Virginia Dept. of Health
Graphic courtesy: Virginia Dept. of Health(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 9:05 AM EDT
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As of Monday, April 13, the Virginia Department of Health has received 5,747 positive or presumptive positive tests for COVID-19 across the commonwealth.

New positive test results have accelerated rapidly in the past week, with Virginia crossing 2,000 cases on Friday, April 3, 3,000 cases by Tuesday, April 7, 4,000 cases by Thursday, April 9, and 5,000 by Saturday, April 11.

This past weekend saw Virginia's largest one-day increases in cases two days in a row, with the total in the commonwealth accelerating.

It is important to remember that many tests still take days to process – up to a week and a half for some commercial labs – and then sometimes a day or two for the results to be submitted to the Department of Health, so the official tally of cases always reflects where testing was several days before. As testing capacity increases in Virginia, the confirmed cases will increase too.

But researchers are also extremely confident there are many more people with positive cases who have not been tested because they didn't show symptoms, but can still pass the virus on to others.

The statewide situation in Virginia

On April 8, in Governor Ralph Northam's daily coronavirus briefing,

that he was postponing statewide June primaries by two weeks, which moves them past the end date of the Stay at Home order, and recommending that the General Assembly postpone May's local elections until November, to be held at the same time as national elections.

On March 30, Gov. Northam

by signing

, effectively instructing all Virginians to stay home except for essential needs.

Virginia remains under a state of emergency until June 10, and Northam's order that closed many non-essential businesses,

, remains in place for that length of time as well.

That order is enforceable by law, so someone who hosts a gathering of more than 10 people can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. You can learn more about what police enforcement of Northam's executive orders looks like

.

All elective surgeries have also been postponed in Virginia hospitals through a public health order signed by Northam on March 25, designed to help preserve critical equipment like ventilators and personal protective gear.

Case totals as of April 13

By April 13, the Virginia Department of Health had confirmed 5,747 cases of COVID-19 across the commonwealth.

Those positive test results are out of 41,401 people that have been tested in Virginia, which comes out to more than 13% of Virginians tested for the coronavirus receiving positive results.

At this point, 903 Virginians have been hospitalized due to the disease caused by the virus, and 149 have died of causes related to the disease.

The hospitalization numbers are cumulative — they represent the total number of people hospitalized due to the disease throughout the outbreak and not the total number currently in the hospital.

Wondering about the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in Virginia? Recovery information is not required to be sent to the Department of Health, so there is no accurate way to track that data.

The

is updating with the latest statewide numbers at 9 a.m. each day.

The numbers that appear on that list are based on the cases that had been submitted to the department by 5 p.m. the previous day, so there is always some lag between when local health districts announce positive test results and when the department's numbers reflect those new results.

Local cases

In our area, as of April 13, there were at least 17 confirmed cases in Augusta County, 87 cases in Harrisonburg, 49 cases in Rockingham County, 6 cases in Page County, 17 cases in Shenandoah County, 2 cases in Staunton, 6 cases in Waynesboro, 66 cases in Frederick County, 20 cases in Winchester, and 3 cases in Rockbridge County, along with 3 in Lexington.

Of the state's total hospitalizations, at least six have been in the Central Shenandoah Health District, which

.

Just to the east, there have been at least 49 cases in Albemarle County, 33 in Charlottesville, 5 in Greene County, and 5 in Nelson County. There have been nine hospitalizations there.

In the part of West Virginia we cover, one case has been confirmed

and two cases

.

The numbers provided here are a blend of the data provided by the Virginia Department of Health and case updates provided directly by our local health districts.

Why do some cases that have been confirmed in my area not appear on the state map?

The VDH numbers always lag behind the numbers reported by local health districts because of multiple factors.

First, they're based on the test results that healthcare providers and laboratories submitted to the department by 5 p.m. the previous day, so any positive cases announced in the late afternoon or evening, as well as on the day of the case count update, cannot appear on the department's list.

In addition, representatives for local health districts have told us their first priority when a new case is confirmed in their district is to

to let anyone who may have potentially been exposed to the virus know. With that as the priority, sometimes reporting of local cases to the Virginia Department of Health falls lower on the ladder and those results may not show up on the state tally for another day or two.

Plus, the exact locations of cases can sometimes appear differently on the state map than they do for local health districts that know their localities better.

Considering all of those factors, as an example, the April 2 state website update did not show one case in Staunton that the Central Shenandoah Health District

, though it had updated to show two cases confirmed in Augusta County at the same time.

There was also, initially, a glitch in the system for updates from the Lord Fairfax Health District being sent to the Department of Health that caused some of their numbers to not display correctly for weeks. However, as of April 6, Dr. Greene, representing the district, said that issue had been resolved.

With those lapses between local case reporting and the VDH, while we report every morning on the latest statewide totals, we're also reporting local case numbers based on results directly confirmed to us by local health districts.

West Virginia's communication system between the local and state health departments is a little different, and their numbers, at this point, are considerably lower, so a similar discrepancy hasn't been seen there yet.

Reporting by local health districts

Local health districts are no longer sending individual updates for every new case, as they expect, realistically, that numbers will keep rising until we hit the peak of cases, which current models, highlighted by Gov. Northam on Wednesday, don't project until most likely some time in May.

Our Virginia counties are primarily served by the Central Shenandoah Health District, which covers Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge and Rockingham counties, as well as the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton and Waynesboro; and the Lord Fairfax Health District, which covers Shenandoah, Page, Frederick, Warren, and Clarke counties, as well as the city of Winchester.

Where are all the confirmed cases?

According to the department's April 13 breakdown, 41,401 people in Virginia had been tested for the virus, with 5,747 positive results.

Their breakdown and location map, available to the public

, has a graph showing the number of illnesses in the state by the date the illnesses themselves began, breakdowns by demographics, and breakdowns by health district.

For instance, only 26 of Virginia's confirmed cases have been in children 9 and under, and there have been 79 cases in children 10-19.

Here's the full breakdown of cases as of 9:15 a.m. on April 13, starting with our most local cases and then broken down by health districts across the state (Note that not all cases confirmed by local districts yet appear on the statewide list):

Central Shenandoah

• Augusta County - 17

• Buena Vista - 4

• Harrisonburg - 87

• Lexington - 3

• Rockbridge County - 3

• Rockingham County - 49

• Staunton - 2

• Waynesboro - 6

Outbreaks:

Data not provided.

Lord Fairfax

• Clarke County - 3

• Frederick County - 66

• Page County - 6

• Shenandoah County - 17

• Warren County - 17

• Winchester - 20

Outbreaks:

6, with 2 in long-term care facilities, 3 in healthcare settings, and 1 in a congregate setting

Thomas Jefferson

• Albemarle County - 49

• Charlottesville - 33

• Fluvanna County - 23

• Greene County - 5

• Louisa County - 27

• Nelson County - 5

Outbreaks:

2, with 1 in a long-term care facility and 1 in a correctional facility

Rappahannock Rapidan

• Culpeper County - 20

• Fauquier County - 28

• Madison County - 6

• Orange County - 14

• Rappahannock - 1

Outbreaks:

1 in a healthcare setting

Alexandria

• Alexandria City - 235

Alleghany

• Alleghany County - 4

• Botetourt County - 24

• Covington - 1

• Craig County - 2

• Roanoke County - 18

• Salem - 1

Arlington

• Arlington County - 390

Central Virginia

• Amherst County - 10

• Appomattox - 7

• Bedford County - 16

• Campbell County - 10

• Lynchburg - 33

Cheseapeake

• Chesapeake City - 126

Chesterfield

• Chesterfield County - 211

• Colonial Heights - 10

• Powhatan County - 5

Chickahominy

• Charles City County - 9

• Goochland County - 38

• Hanover County - 39

• New Kent - 13

Crater

• Dinwiddie - 6

• Emporia - 7

• Greensville - 10

• Hopewell - 14

• Petersburg - 19

• Prince George County - 27

• Surry - 3

• Sussex - 8

Cumberland Plateau

• Buchanan - 2

• Russell - 1

• Tazewell - 4

Eastern Shore

• Accomack County - 15

• Northampton - 4

Fairfax

• Fairfax County/City - 1,165

• Falls Church - 2

Hampton

• Hampton City - 72

Henrico

• Henrico County - 397

Lenowisco

• Lee County - 7

• Scott County - 3

• Wise County - 13

Loudoun

• Loudoun County - 324

Mount Rogers

• Bristol - 1

• Carroll County - 3

• Galax - 1

• Smyth County - 11

• Washington County - 28

• Wythe County - 7

New River

• Floyd County - 1

• Giles County - 4

• Montgomery County - 32

• Pulaski County - 4

• Radford City - 1

Norfolk

• Norfolk - 99

Peninsula

• James City County - 126

• Newport News - 88

• Poquoson - 6

• Williamsburg - 20

• York County - 33

Piedmont

• Amelia County - 9

• Buckingham County - 16

• Charlotte County - 4

• Cumberland County - 8

• Lunenburg - 4

• Nottoway - 5

• Prince Edward County - 13

Pittsylvania-Danville

• Danville - 21

• Pittsylvania County - 4

Portsmouth

• Portsmouth - 54

Prince William

• Manassas City - 41

• Manassas Park - 10

• Prince William County - 434

Rappahannock

• Caroline County - 6

• Fredericksburg - 13

• King Georrge County - 14

• Spotsylvania County - 51

• Stafford County - 87

Richmond

• Richmond - 167

Roanoke

• Roanoke City - 21

Southside

• Brunswick County - 3

• Halifax County - 7

• Mecklenburg County - 57

Three Rivers

• Gloucester County - 20

• King and Queen - 2

• King William County - 2

• Lancaster County - 1

• Matthews - 3

• Middlesex - 3

• Northumberland - 4

• Richmond County - 5

• Westmoreland - 8

Virginia Beach

• Virginia Beach - 251

West Piedmont

• Franklin County - 14

• Henry County - 8

Western Tidewater

• Franklin City - 7

• Isle of Wight County - 33

• Southampton - 5

• Suffolk - 51

The latest updates from Gov. Northam's April 10 briefing
Task force to respond to outbreaks at nursing homes

The governor announced in his briefing that he has appointed Dr. Laurie Forlano, currently the deputy commissioner for public health at the Virginia Department of Health, to head up a task force on responding to outbreaks at nursing homes and long-term care centers across Virginia.

The move was especially prompted by the

, where dozens of people have died in recent weeks.

Northam said Dr. Forlano will head up a coalition of public health officials that will work to make sure all facilities have access to testing, PPE, and the cleaning supplies they need to respond to the pandemic.

Dr. Forlano said as staff at all these facilities are dedicated to protecting the people that live there, she and the task force will ensure long-term care facilities are prioritized and get the funding they need, as well as needed information.

The task force will also track data specific to long-term care facilities in Virginia.

For instance, on Friday, Dr. Forlano said the state has identified 45 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the state, which makes up about 55% of all outbreaks identified in the state.

They've also identified 525 cases among those facilities.

Proposed amendment to make inmates eligible for release

The governor also announced on Friday that he is proposing a state budget amendment to give the Virginia Department of Corrections the authority to release inmates who have one year or less remaining in their sentences.

That's because most correctional facilities across Virginia face serious overcrowding

The authority granted to the department would allow them to release inmates who don't pose a threat to the safety of themselves or anyone else and also meet good behavior standards.

Under the amendment, the Dept. of Corrections would handle re-entry planning for about 2,000 inmates who meet the standard of having a year or less in their sentence.

The department, which has never before had the authority to release inmates, would need to plan for inmates to have somewhere to go upon their release and have necessary medications for at least three months.

The authority would last for the duration of Gov. Northam's executive orders, which are currently set until June 10.

However, for it to happen, the General Assembly will need to approve the amendment at their special session on April 22.

The General Assembly's session

Northam said when the state legislature re-convenes on April 22, to keep delegates and state senators safe, they have planned to not meet in the state capitol.

The governor said the House of Delegates will meet outdoors in a large tent and the Senate will meet in Richmond's science museum to provide plenty of space for them to social distance while voting on needed bills and amendments.

The deadline for the governor take action on legislation passed by the General Assembly in March is this Saturday night at midnight. He announced on Friday that he had signed

and the Virginia Reproductive Health Protection Act.

Need for volunteers

Gov. Northam said they've had more than 13,000 people sign up for the state's volunteer reserve, and about half have medical experience.

They're also offering training for Virginians who want to learn basic medical skills.

The governor said they welcome everyone who can help, medical experience or not, and want to give more Virginians a chance to come together.

While nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students are highly encouraged to apply, anyone can, and they can do so online at

.

Unemployment changes

According to Governor Northam, more than 191,000 payments went out through the Virginia Employment Commission over the past week.

Next week, through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, Virginia's unemployment insurance will offer payments boosted by about $600 a week to everyone who qualifies.

Through the CARES Act, people who previously did not qualify, like gig workers, can also now apply through the VEC and get benefits.

You can learn more about the coming unemployment insurance changes

.

What about hope?

Governor Northam was asked why, while President Donald Trump says "he's a glass half full kind of guy" and hopes to reopen the country soon, he instead provides somber updates.

Northam said while he wants everyone to get life back to normal as soon as possible, "we have to face reality."

The governor, who was a doctor before taking office, said his leadership style comes from his time in the medical field, so he's "a big believer in telling people the truth."

He said he looks at the data every day, looks at admissions to Virginia hospitals, looks at the number of patients now on ventilators, and bases public health decisions on the data and the recommendations of his staff.

"My job as your governor is to keep Virginians safe," Northam said.

He used an analogy of doctors making a treatment plan with a cancer patient, letting them know guidelines to follow and medicines to take. In a situation like that, we know that stopping the plan early just because it seems to be working is not the right course of action, because the cancer returns.

The governor said ending the Stay at Home order or social distancing guidelines because models appear to project peaks earlier would be largely the same, and people need to keep staying home and staying safe to get through this.

"This is a biologic war that we're fighting," the governor said, and Virginians all need to follow the guidelines set based on data.

The governor said we have to get through the health crisis before he sees a path to fully address the economic crisis.

General info on COVID-19
Who gets tested for the virus?

Currently, there are two main reasons someone would be tested for the coronavirus: having symptoms or exposure to an infected person. In our area, requirements for testing include both symptoms and either travel to an affected area or exposure to someone with a confirmed case.

The main symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. These look a lot like the flu and the common cold, so it takes a physician to determine if testing for the virus is necessary.

How does the coronavirus test work?

For a patient, the process of being tested for the virus is easy and can potentially be done almost anywhere. It typically involves taking a swab from deep in a patient’s nasal cavity to collect cells from the back of the nose.

The sample is then sent to a lab, where it will be tested to determine if the patient’s cells are infected with the virus. The same process is used to collect a sample from a patient who is tested for flu.

What to know about preventing the virus

Most people don't suffer much from COVID-19, but it can cause severe illness in the elderly and people with existing health problems.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. In a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can cause death, particularly among those who are older or who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Avoid non-essential travel.

For the latest factual information on COVID-19, you're encouraged to check both the

and the

.

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