COVID-19 cases took a major upswing in Gloucester during the past week, with 98 new cases recorded from Wednesday to Wednesday, Nov. 25 to Dec. 2 (102 cases since the Gazette-Journal’s last report, on Tuesday, Nov. 24).
This brought the total number of cases in the county to 521 since the pandemic began. Two Gloucester residents were hospitalized during the past week, as well, for a total of 21 thus far, while the number of deaths in the county remained at three.
The upward trajectory continued in Mathews and Middlesex counties, as well. Mathews saw an increase of eight cases during the same period, for a total of 163, while hospitalizations and deaths remained the same, at 12 and one, respectively. The number of cases in Middlesex increased by 11 during the week, for a total of 173 cases since last Wednesday with hospitalizations remaining at 10 and deaths at 11.
There were 300 new cases of the virus recorded across the Three Rivers Health District during the past week, the largest increase in a single week since the pandemic began. Sixteen people were hospitalized for the virus district-wide during the past week, for a total of 172 residents who’ve been hospitalized since the pandemic began, and three additional people died during the week, for a total of 47 district patients who have lost their lives to the virus.
Statewide, 18,898 cases of COVID-19 were added during the past week, for a total of 242,480 Virginians who have tested positive for the virus since March. An additional 671 people were hospitalized for the virus during the past week, bringing the number of hospitalizations statewide since the pandemic began to 14,883. Total deaths across Virginia stood at 4,113 on Wednesday morning, an increase of 134 in a week’s time.
The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association data showed that 1,860 people were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 on Wednesday morning (Dec. 3), 427 of them in the intensive care unit, 188 on ventilators. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 24,620 people have been treated for the illness in Virginia hospitals and released.
Inpatient bed availability remained stable as of Wednesday, with 3,259 regular hospital beds available and 3,695 surge beds available. Intensive care unit beds were at 77 percent occupancy statewide, but that rate dropped to 52 percent when 890 ICU surge beds were taken into consideration. There were 2,963 ventilators on-hand in hospitals on Wednesday morning, with 834 of them in use.
Three Rivers Health District Director Dr. Richard Williams said that multiple cases of COVID-19 are being diagnosed among school faculty, staff, and students in various district jurisdictions. He said there have been outbreaks in Northumberland and Richmond County schools.
“Social distancing, masking, and hygiene in our schools are imperative if we are to keep them open,” said Williams in his weekly report.
Early detection, case investigation, and contact tracing in schools is important, as well, he said.
Schools themselves do not appear to be serving as major sources of disease spread, said Williams. Rather, exposures outside the schools, mostly in private settings and events, apparently continue to be the major challenge.
“We are on the verge of access to effective vaccination,” he said. “We can save many lives if we protect each other in the coming weeks and months.”
Williams urged residents to stay at home if they feel sick, “even if your symptoms don’t feel like COVID-19.”
“The virus can masquerade as many other diseases, and can fool us all,” he said.
The Mathews Health Department will offer free COVID-19 testing to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday at the Human Services Building on Church Street. Testing is by appointment only. To make an appointment, call 804-815-4191.