Holsworth: August 11, 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. Hospitalizations “Steady,” Deaths Down

Hospitalizations are down since my last report 4 days ago – on August 7th, there were 1372 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, today there were 1293.

I actually think, however, that hospitalizations are relatively steady. One week ago, there were 1255 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. So we are down for the last 4 days but up for the last 7.

We’ll get a better indication of the trend with the numbers tomorrow and Thursday.

The one clear piece of encouraging news is that the significant uptick in deaths that we’ve seen in the last two weeks has apparently subsided. There have been 27 deaths since my report 4 days ago, far lower than the 20 person per day totals the previous week.

2. Cases Continue in the 900-1000 range per day.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reports for the last four days had 1307, 897, 663, and 996 confirmed cases. The test positivity rate inched up to 7.5%.

This rate is lower than in the states that have had large spikes. But it remains high enough to worry about community spread in multiple jurisdictions across the Commonwealth.

3. Uncertainty about School Re-Opening

It’s this rate and the breadth of the spread across the state that, in part, is causing the uncertainty and changing decisions about school re-openings.

In the absence of clear and explicit guidance about when it is safe to open fully on-site, when there should be a hybrid approach with staggered days on site, and when systems should go fully virtual, it is not surprising that parents have expressed a wide range of concerns – anger about decisions to go virtual, anger about about decisions to go fully on-site, concern about the quality of virtual education, anxiety about safety inside schools, concern about what it means for their own employment, etc.

I can’t help but think that the lack of proactive guidance will negatively impact children who come from the most challenging circumstances and who have the least access to technology. And I don’t quite understand why there isn’t more of a clamor to do everything possible to prevent this from occurring.

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