The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gloucester and Mathews counties increased by one each—for a total of 21 in Gloucester and three in Mathews—compared to last Wednesday, according to the latest information from the Virginia Department of Health.
However, there has been a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the entire Three Rivers Health District (of which Gloucester and Mathews are a part), from 50 last week to 102 this week. This is primarily due to an increase in the number of confirmed cases at Haynesville Correctional Center in Richmond County.
According to the Virginia Department of Corrections website, the department conducted “point prevalence testing” at the center on Monday, testing asymptomatic offenders as well as those exhibiting symptoms. This resulted in an increase from just four offenders found to have had the illness last week to 49 confirmed cases this week. Of those cases, two inmates are hospitalized. The number of employees increased from one to two. This caused the overall number of cases in Richmond County to increase from eight last week, when just four inmates and one employee at the facility tested positive, to 53 this week. (The VDH number may not reflect all cases.)
A new feature on the Virginia Department of Health website shows that 10 people in the Three Rivers Health District had been hospitalized with the illness as of Wednesday morning. Four of those are Gloucester residents and one is a Mathews resident.
A second outbreak of the illness has occurred at a long-term care facility in the Three Rivers Health District, said Director Richard Williams, but he said that under Virginia Department of Health guidelines he could not provide information about which facility is involved. Two confirmed cases constitute an outbreak, he said, and it’s up to the health care facility itself to release information about the outbreak unless there is an imminent threat to public health that wouldn’t be known without health department intervention.
Williams said that the pandemic is moving into a phase in which the virus is more frequently finding its way into vulnerable settings, aided by asymptomatic transmissions. This is not an indication that such a facility is doing anything wrong, said Williams. They’re taking staff temperatures and asking about symptoms daily, but if there are no symptoms, people have no way of knowing that they’re carriers of the illness.
“There’s no reliable test that tells you immediately whether a person has the illness,” he said. “It takes at least 24 hours, so we’re always behind.”
Across Virginia, the total number of confirmed cases increased from 6,500 last week to 9,630, with an additional 179 cases listed as probable for COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning. However, the VDH reported on its website that complete case information was not available due to an error in processing.
The number of people hospitalized with the illness increased from 1,048 to 1,581 over the past week, with three additional cases listed as probable, while the number of deaths went from 195 to 324, with three additional deaths listed as probably due to COVID-19.
As of Wednesday morning, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association’s website, 879 people statewide were hospitalized with COVID-19, while there were an additional 495 suspected cases in hospitals. Of those 1,374 total patients, 419 were in the Intensive Care Unit and 244 were on ventilators. There were 2,888 ventilators on-hand in hospitals across Virginia on Wednesday, with 650 of them in use. The total number of patients who had been treated for COVID-19 and discharged was 1,497.