Holsworth: May 17, 2020, Virginia Covid-19 Update

Editor’s note: Bearing Drift is grateful to Dr. Bob Holsworth for permission to share his daily Virginia coronavirus updates. For more, follow him on Facebook.



1. Sunday’s Numbers

-The daily report from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) was pretty much status quo. The number of patients in hospital ticked up from 1505 to 1524. There were 84 discharges and 103 new estimated admissions.

The number of patients in ICUs was 379. Since April 17, this number has remained remarkably steady, ranging from 348 to 419. No surge on hospital capacity and no significant downward trend.

-The daily report from the Virginia Department of Health showed 705 new cases yesterday. The three day moving average of cases declined from 979 to 858, but due to a relatively small number of tests yesterday, I’m reluctant to interpret this as a trend right now.

NOVA once again had the largest percentage increase among the large metros and Hampton Roads had the lowest. The Hampton Roads numbers will certainly lead to further calls to open up the Beach by Memorial Day.

2. Latino Communities

During the course of the pandemic, I have been struck by how places have emerged to be of significant concern that were not front and center at the outset. It seems to me that we have struggled to respond quickly and effectively as these settings have been identified.

While we were addressing concerns about hospital capacity, COVID-19 ravaged long-term care facilities (LTCFs). Most states, including Virginia, were caught without a real plan for addressing the emergent tragedy.

In recent weeks, every time I follow up on a locality that has a new spike, it seems that it has either a correctional facility or workplace(s) with a sizable Latino community – Prince William County, the northern Valley, the Eastern Shore, Galax.

At times, there has been a public back and forth about whether the workplace or transmission at home where multiple individuals/families live in close quarters is more responsible. It’s an argument that makes me want to shout in frustration.

Wouldn’t good public health practice tell us that we have to address challenges that abet the spreading of the disease wherever these arise?

We have to find a way to make the poultry processing and meat packing facilities safer – these are issues that have arisen all across the country. In addition, we need better communication about the disease to impacted communities and governmental/nonprofit or public-private initiatives that would enable individuals who have contracted the disease to isolate rather than spread it to the household and broader community.

I have attached an excellent article from the Culpeper Start-Exponent (see Culpeper’s Hispanic population has been hit hard by COVID-19) by Allison Brophy Champion that describes COVID-19’s impact in Culpeper and its Latino community. Ms. Champion does exactly what a good reporter should do: she describes the situation on the ground and the challenges that need to be addressed while obtaining perspective from multiple voices.

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