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As of Thursday, September 24, Virginia has had 143,492 total cases of COVID-19, including confirmed lab tests and clinical diagnoses, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
That total reflects a 902 case increase since Wednesday, out of 32,727 tests newly added to the system, which comes out to 2.8% of the newest tests coming back positive. 24 additional deaths were reported on Thursday, leaving the death toll at 3,113. According to the Virginia Department of Health, a backlog of death data is expected to be added from September 15 through September 25.
For a comprehensive summary of COVID-19 cases and testing in Virginia, you can visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website and view their COVID-19 dashboard.
On Tuesday, September 15, Gov. Northam held a COVID-19 briefing and discussed the 2020 election. Northam expects a high number of absentee voters this year; as of Sept. 15, the department of elections has received 790,000 absentee ballots by mail. Absentee ballots will begin to be sent out to voters on Friday, Sept. 18. Unlike past election years, you do not need to provide a reason to receive an absentee ballot. You can call or visit the website of your general registrar for your county or city to request an absentee ballot, or go online to vote.elections.virginia.gov.
On Tuesday, September 1, James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. made the decision to move classes online until at least Oct. 5. Also on Tuesday, Gov. Northam held a COVID-19 briefing to discuss COVID-19 numbers in the state and urged residents to fill out the 2020 Census. Virginia will not make any new COVID-19-related decisions before the Labor Day weekend.
The Virginia DMV announced on September 1 that credentials that would originally expire in August, September and October would now have an additional 60 days to renew. November expiration dates have been extended through the end of November.
On Tuesday, July 28, Gov. Northam held a live COVID-19 briefing on his social media platforms to discuss the coronavirus in Virginia. According to Northam, cases remain stable in 4 out of 5 Virginia regions. Hampton Roads, however, continues to have a steady rise in cases, where more people are gathering in crowds and not maintaining social distancing guidelines.
Northam said that some restaurants have had their licenses revoked for violating COVID-19 guidelines since his July 14 briefing as well.
For the Hampton Roads area, an executive order was placed on Friday, July 21. The order states restaurants must close by midnight and indoor dining is only allowed at 50% capacity. There are no alcohol sales permitted after 10 p.m., and private gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. The executive order will last for at least two to three weeks until numbers begin going down.
On Tuesday, July 14, Gov. Northam held a COVID-19 briefing on his Facebook page urging the commonwealth to keep practicing social distancing and to follow the mask mandate. Gov. Northam said that the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia’s ABC teams will begin to conduct random visits to businesses and restaurants throughout the state to ensure that these organizations are following the latest COVID-19 guidelines. Licenses for these businesses can be revoked if they are not following the guidelines.
On Wednesday, July 1, the commonwealth moved into Phase 3 of Governor Ralph Northam’s ‘Forward Virginia’ plan for reopening, which allowed nonessential retail businesses to fully open, restaurants to fully open without bar seating, gyms to open at 75% capacity, entertainment venues to open at 50% capacity and gatherings of up to 250 people.
State officials are basing any decisions about moving into each phase, as well as any potential fallback to previous restrictions if spikes happen, on 7-day and 14-day trends in the data.
For the past several weeks, those trends have been good news: with increasing test capacity, decreasing percentage positivity (the number of cases confirmed as a ratio of the amount of testing), and decreasing hospitalizations — though other states around the country have seen new spikes.
Most tests are PCR tests that take several days to process, and the majority of people still only get tested when symptomatic. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to develop, so test results reported each day reflect what the situation in Virginia looked like several days before. Antibody tests process results faster, but test whether someone has had the virus in the past: not necessarily if they currently have it, and their reliability is lower.
Virginia has been meeting the governor’s benchmark of steady PPE supplies and open hospital capacity for more than a month now, with 3,745 hospital beds available. Currently, no Virginia hospitals are reporting any supply problems, and no licensed nursing facilities are reporting PPE supply problems such as N95 masks, surgical masks and isolation gowns.
The commonwealth increased from around 2,000 tests a day in late April to the 5,000 range in the start of May, and was steadily hitting around 10,000 a day by the end of May, which Dr. Karen Remley, head of Virginia’s testing task force, said was the goal for Phase 1. Over the most recent weeks, testing has stayed in the range of around 8,000 to 15,000 a day.
The executive order requiring Virginians to wear face coverings when entering indoor businesses that went into effect across Virginia on May 29 will remain in effect indefinitely into the future.
Statewide case totals and testing numbers as of September 24
By September 24, the Virginia Department of Health had received reports of 136,448 confirmed cases and 7,044 probable cases of COVID-19 across the commonwealth.
“Probable” cases are cases that were diagnosed by a doctor based on symptoms and exposure without a test – also known as clinical diagnoses.
Those positive test results are out of total tests administered in Virginia, which included 1,952,965 PCR tests and 145,355 antibody tests (The Dept. of Health announced in May that they would break testing data down by diagnostic and antibody tests.)
A lot of the testing has been conducted through health department-sponsored community testing events around the commonwealth, through which state health officials have said the goal is to get tests into areas in the most need, and those events do not turn anyone away, regardless of symptoms.
Overall, considering testing numbers and positive results, about 6.9% of Virginians who have been tested have received positive results. At the start of May, that percentage was standing steadily around 17%, but with increased testing and decreased case rates, it’s come down over time. However, some localities have higher percentages, as outlined in our “local cases” section below.
At this point, 10,769 Virginians have been hospitalized due to the disease caused by the virus, and at least 3,113 have died of causes related to the disease.
The hospitalization and death numbers are totals confirmed by the Virginia Department of Health, which are always delayed by several days due to the logistics of medical facilities reporting information to local health districts, which then report it to the state health department.
The hospitalization numbers are cumulative — they represent the total number of people hospitalized due to the disease throughout the pandemic and not the total number currently in the hospital. For current hospitalization stats, the VHHA offers more helpful data.
The state website shows a lot of detail by locality, including hospitalizations and deaths for each city or county, and are broken down by zip code here, if you want to track cases on a neighborhood level.
Where are our local cases?
The department’s breakdown and location map, available to the public here, shows the number of cases confirmed each day, number of people tested, total hospitalizations, total deaths, demographic breakdowns, and testing numbers, as well as breakdowns by health district.
Here’s a breakdown of cases for our region as of 10:00 a.m. September 24. You can find the breakdown for the entire state in the chart at the bottom of this article.
Numbers sometimes decrease day to day when the health department determines that a test initially reported in one locality was actually for a resident of another city, county, or state.
Central Shenandoah Health District: 5,218 total cases
• Augusta County – 474 (+4 from Wednesday)
• Bath County – 7 (+1 from Wednesday)
• Buena Vista – 80
• Harrisonburg – 2,564 (+23 from Wednesday)
• Highland County – 6
• Lexington – 71 (+12 from Wednesday)
• Rockbridge County – 106
• Rockingham County – 1,403 (+13 from Wednesday)
• Staunton – 250 (+4 from Wednesday)
• Waynesboro – 257
Outbreaks: 34, with 9 in long-term care facilities, 1 in a healthcare setting, 19 in congregate settings, 1 in a correctional facility, and 4 in an educational setting | 2,211 cases associated with outbreaks
Total tests: 55,986
Local percent positivity: 9.3%
Lord Fairfax Health District: 3,060 total cases
• Clarke County – 93
• Frederick County – 865 (+5 from Wednesday)
• Page County – 389
• Shenandoah County – 804 (+3 from Wednesday)
• Warren County – 415
• Winchester – 494 (+4 from Wednesday)
Outbreaks: 39, with 14 in long-term care facilities, 8 in healthcare settings, 14 in congregate settings, and 2 in a correctional facility and 1 in an educational setting | 928 cases associated with outbreaks
Total tests: 55,806
Local percent positivity: 5.5%
Recovery
Wondering about the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in Virginia? Recovery information is not required to be sent to the Department of Health, so there is no accurate way to track that data for every single confirmed case. Individual health districts may track cases as “active” and “non-active,” but that data is not published anywhere in aggregate.
But there is a way to track the number of patients who were hospitalized due to COVID-19 and have since been discharged – effectively tracking how many people have recovered from the most severe cases.
The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association updates their own dashboard of data each day on hospital-specific statistics, including bed availability, ventilator usage, and more. Their online dashboard indicates that, as of September 24, at least 17,099 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from the hospital.
Unlike the VDH data that reports cumulative hospitalizations, their data on hospitalizations reflects people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 (whether with confirmed or pending cases), and that number is at 982.
The data used by the VDH to report cumulative hospitalizations is based on information reported in hospital claims. On the other hand, the numbers reported by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association are based on a current census from hospitals, which provides a separate data set.
West Virginia updates
Here at WHSV, we cover Grant County, Hardy County and Pendleton County. The below information is the most recent data from each counties’ health department.
Hardy County: 87 total COVID-19 cases.
Pendleton County: 52 total COVID-19 cases.
Grant County: 156 total COVID-19 cases.
Timing of VDH data


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