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 .
MAY 20, COVID-19 UPDATE
1. Today’s Numbers
-The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association’s (VHHA) daily report showed that the number of patients in hospitals increased from 1497 to 1536. These numbers remained with the range between 1413-1625 that we’ve seen since the beginning of the month.
The number of patients in ICUs, 370, also remained within the month’s range (348-385) as did the number of patients on ventilators, 202 (range of 185-203).
There was one odd feature of today’s numbers that is probably the result of a reporting backlog. The number of discharges (252), and estimated new admissions (291) was far higher than any other day. I assume that this was just catch-up reporting.
– The Virginia Department of Health’s daily case report showed 763 new cases. The three day moving average of new cases ticked upward from 804 to 840.
There was, however, some better news in this case report. The number of tests reported yesterday, 9782, was much higher than the past three days while the test positivity percentage, 7.8% was considerably lower than we’ve seen recently. These are the kind of numbers that we’d want to continue.
2. Continuing Concern about PPE in Nursing Facilities
The VHHA has also very developed a very helpful data dashboard for licensed nursing facilities similar to what they have done for hospitals.
The dashboard for hospitals has shown since the start of the outbreak that the supply of personal protective equipment was adequate throughout Virginia.
This, however, is not the case for licensed nursing facilities. More than two months into the outbreak, 21 facilities are reporting difficulty obtaining isolation gowns and 10 are reporting difficulty obtaining N95 masks. And VHHA does not report on all long-term care facilities. (LTCFs)), just licensed home that agreed to participate.
It’s clear that far more attention has been focused in recent weeks on the LTCFs. But the inability to completely address some of the most basic needs to preserve the health of residents and staff is discouraging. The VHHA should be commended for providing this information as I have to believe that it will lead to improvement.
3. COVID-19 Exit Strategy Data: Virginia Lagging?
A group of public health experts have started a website covidexitstrategy.org  that compares how well states are doing in making progress toward a new normal. It uses key measures such as the 14 day trend in test numbers and test positivity percentages to compile a dashboard with green, yellow and red categories.
What is shows, I think, is that Virginia was relatively late in experiencing the impact of the disease and is relatively late coming out of it.
As of today, Virginia is one of the 17 states in the red category. Only five states have a larger 14 day percentage increase in test numbers and three of these states have such few cases- Maine, North Dakota, and Wyoming- that they are hardly comparable. In addition, only two states have a higher test positivity percentage than Virginia and, one of these, Maine, tests almost nobody.
There are, of course, caveats that should be applied to the analysis. Virginia did not experience the extent of the impact that ravaged other states and, even in decline, their numbers are still more problematic than ours. . And the site does not take into account regional differences inside states. NOVA, for example, may be red on the dashboard but Hampton Roads, if taken alone, would be green.
Overall, however, the site makes clear that the Commonwealth still has some catching up left to do.