Holsworth: Sept. 25, 2020, Virginia Covid-19 Update

By Dr. Bob Holsworth

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. Governor Northam and Pam Northam Test Positive

Ralph and Pam Northam announced this morning that they have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The accompanying statement noted that the Governor had not experienced any symptoms and that Pam Northam’s symptoms were mild. Let’s hope that the course of the virus stays on this path for both of them.

The news came the day after a report indicated that the virus was evolving in a manner that was no more virulent but even more contagious. The announcement came twelve hours before President Trump was scheduled to hold a campaign event at the Newport News-Williamsburg airport despite requests from local health officials to cancel the rally.

Public opinion polls continue to show that a majority of voters disapprove of the President’s handling of the pandemic. But he persists in holding rallies with minimal social distancing, largely, I think, because he believes that these allow him to focus attention on issues where he may have more support.

2. Hospitalizations Relatively Steady

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association ( VHHA) reported today that there are 965 COVID-19 patients in hospitals. This is a small increase over the 940 patients in my last post on Tuesday and 945 patients Friday a week ago.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 187 COVID-19 deaths in the last week after 237 the previous week. These are very large numbers, though VDH says the increase is due to catching up with reporting lags and is not a new spike in mortality.

3. Daily Case Numbers Steady, Test Positivity Declines

In my last post, the previous 4 days had averaged 822 cases. During the last 3 days, the average has been 808. This number is down from the approximately 950-1000 cases we were seeing 10-14 days ago.

The 7-day test positivity average has also declined. Today, it is at 5.1%, the lowest percentage it has been since the statistic was first reported during the pandemic. This is encouraging.

4. Virginia and the Nation

5000+ cases per week is still far more virus than we want to see. At the same time, the directional trend in the Commonwealth is more positive than in the 22 states that are coping with case increases. Smoldering is better than spiking – though the announcement by Ralph and Pam Northam should caution everyone about becoming complacent.

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