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Holsworth: June 29, 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].



1. Hospitalizations Continue Downward Trend

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association’s (VHHA) daily reports since Friday continue to show a downward trend. On Friday, there were 854 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, today the number is 796.

The number of patients in ICUs ticked slightly upward from 219 to 225 as did the number of patients on ventilators from 99 to 101.

2. Cases Slightly Down from Last Week, NOVA Down, Hampton Roads Up

The Virginia Health Department’s (VDH) daily reports showed 677, 489, and 453 cases over the weekend, a 3-day total of 1619 new confirmed cases. Last weekend, the corresponding numbers were 650, 551, and 471, a 3-day total of 1672.

Over the weekend, the test positivity ratio inched up from 5.8% to 5.9%.

While the number of confirmed cases remained basically steady over the week, the regional composition continues to change. The NOVA communities reported 108 new confirmed cases yesterday while Hampton Roads communities reported 160. For most of the pandemic, Hampton Roads had clearly the smallest number of confirmed cases among the 3 largest metros – yesterday’s report was unusual and we’ll have to watch to see whether it continues.

3. Phase 3, Bars and Colleges

The decline in hospitalizations, case numbers, and test positivity in the Commonwealth has led Governor Northam to announce that Virginia will begin Phase 3 reopening on Wednesday, July 1.

After observing the issues that have arisen in states that have reopened earlier, the impact of the relaxation of capacity restrictions on bars and restaurants may be the issue that garners the most scrutiny.

Especially inside.

As much as I love RVA’s restaurants, I’m unlikely to be an early entrant and take-out will remain my preference.

More generally, however, the reports from Florida, Texas, and Arizona about young people contracting the virus at bars and restaurants highlight the challenges that face Virginia’s colleges and universities as they plan to reopen this fall.

Encouraging appropriate social distancing within institutions that are designed for social networking is a formidable lift.

Reconfiguring classrooms, dorm life, study groups, internships, concerts, and fraternity and sorority parties will take serious re-imagining. Add on to this the energy that we’re likely to see on campuses regarding the movement for racial justice and the presidential election and one gets a sense of how difficult it will be to practice social distancing.

I’ve been impressed with the thoughtfulness with which Virginia’s universities are planning for the fall. I’m surely hoping that the plans work out though I worry that the virus has alternative ideas.