Holsworth: May 26, 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.



Today Numbers: Hospitalizations Tick Upward, Cases Have New One-Day High, Latino Impact Gets Even Worse

-The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association’s (VHHA) daily report showed the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 ticked upward from 1376 to 1403. This number is still considerably lower than the 1625 patient high on May 8. We should be able to gauge the extent of the decline after weekday reporting tomorrow and Thursday. The number of patients in ICUs and on ventilators remained toward the low end of this month’s range.

– The Virginia Department of Health’s daily case report showed a 1,615 person explosion of confirmed new cases, the highest single day increase in new cases during the pandemic for the second day in a row.

It’s very difficult to interpret the meaning of case counts because of variability in testing procedures, daily testing numbers, and time lag in reporting test results. At a minimum, however, we can make a few comments.

First, VDH is reporting a test positivity percentage of 14.1%, a percentage that is far higher than experts believe would be a sign of a virus under control.

Second, the virus has clearly spread unevenly in Virginia impacting NOVA greater than other regions. But many individual localities outside of metro NOVA proper are still coping with significant outbreaks, ranging from the Eastern Shore to the northern Valley, to Galax/Carroll in the far southwest. We’ve yet to completely address outbreak potential in long-term care facilities, correctional institutions and close quarter workplaces.

– Individuals who identify as Hispanic or Latino are 9.9% of the Virginia population. They now comprise 48.2% of the confirmed cases in the Commonwealth. This is not a typo.

And this percentage is an increase from 44% less than two weeks ago.

One would think that that these numbers would be receiving more attention.

Jurisdictions with large Latino populations such as Accomack and Northampton on the Eastern Shore and Manassas City are reaching levels where 2%-3% of the population are confirmed cases.

I’ve also been looking at Culpeper where the local paper, The Culpeper Star-Exponent, has written a series of stories specifically addressing the impact of COVID-19 in the Latino community and the emerging controversy between local authorities and the regional health district.

In any case, it would appear that the disparate impact warrants special attention at every level: from state leaders, from local government officials, from the businesses that employ large numbers of Latino workers, from nonprofits that work in Latino neighborhoods, and from the communication outlets that are utilized and trusted inside these communities.

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