One new case of COVID-19 was reported for Gloucester during the past week, with no new cases in Mathews, leaving the Wednesday morning cumulative totals of the novel coronavirus for the two counties at 29 and five, respectively.
Mathews is reporting one new hospitalization of a patient with the illness, for a total of two, while Gloucester’s hospitalization count remains at seven.
While Gloucester and Mathews numbers remained relatively stable this week, the number of cases throughout the district continued to climb, increasing by 79, from 350 last Wednesday morning to 429 this Wednesday. Thirty-one people in the district had been hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, and there have been six deaths; four in Richmond County and one each in Gloucester and Northumberland.
Middlesex added two more cases during the past week, going from 10 last Wednesday to 12 this Wednesday, with one patient hospitalized.
Richmond County has the largest number of cases in the district, with a total of 263 as of Wednesday morning, largely led by an outbreak at Haynesville Correctional Center, where there have been 236 cases reported in inmates and two in staff members. Eight people there have been hospitalized.
Across Virginia, there has been an increase in the number of tests being conducted, for a total of 210,965 tests, with 32,908 people, or 14.5 percent, having been either confirmed positive or deemed probable for the illness. The state will be considered to be conducting enough tests when the percentage of positive cases decreases to 10 percent or less.
The VDH’s cumulative total of people in Virginia who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 rose to 3,979 this week, with 3,951 confirmed cases and 28 probable. There have been 174 deaths from the illness since last Wednesday, for a total of 1,074 throughout Virginia. Of those, 1,040 were confirmed cases, while 34 were probable.
According to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, 1,536 people across Virginia were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning, 1,018 confirmed and 518 probable, while 4,523 people have been treated and discharged. Of those patients currently in the hospital, 370 of them are in the ICU, while 202 of them are on ventilators.
Hospitals in Virginia currently have 2,947 ventilators on hand, with 638 in use. There are 4,264 regular beds available in hospitals across the state, with an additional 3,965 beds available under the governor’s executive order authorizing hospitals to increase their licensed capacity if necessary. A note on the website states that prior to the governor’s executive order there were 18,078 licensed hospital beds in Virginia, with 16,476 of them staffed.
No hospitals were reporting shortages of personal protective equipment as of Wednesday morning.
Comments of health director
Dr. Richard Williams, director of the Three Rivers Health District, said that the relatively stable number of cases in Gloucester and Mathews probably reflects the benefits from social distancing, staying at home, and other protective measures that have been employed to date.
He said that daily case counts across Virginia are more or less stable, as well, with confirmed cases by date of symptom onset possibly trending downward. Hospital measures are stable, with better PPE availability, and the state is testing more, with the percent of positive tests trending downward.
“So, from an overall risk perspective,” he said, “Virginia is in a favorable position in most jurisdictions to proceed with Phase One re-opening.”
However, he said that COVID 19 community transmission is still widespread in the state and that progress must be carefully monitored.
“It is still extremely important to take protective measures when in public,” said Williams. These measures include wearing a face covering, staying six feet away from others if at all possible, practicing surface sanitation, practicing respiratory etiquette, avoiding large group gatherings, and staying at home as much as possible.
Finally, the Fairfax Health District confirmed Virginia’s first case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children associated with COVID-19.
According to a press release from the Virginia Department of Health, the child was hospitalized on May 5 and has since been discharged and is recovering at home.
The syndrome is a new health condition first reported in the United Kingdom, with the first U.S. cases reported in New York City in early May.
MIS-C may cause problems with a child’s heart and other organs, said the release. Symptoms include a fever lasting several days, irritability or decreased activity, abdominal pain without another explanation, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, conjunctivitis, lack of appetite, red or cracked lips, red or bumpy tongue, or swollen hands or feet.
Virginia Health Commission Dr. M. Norman Oliver urged all health providers to quickly report a patient who exhibits the symptoms to the local health department. He warned parents to watch for persistent fever in their children and contact their pediatrician should the child become ill.