COVID-19 Cases Continue to Climb; Officials Look Toward Eventual Reopening

Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday began laying out what the first phase of reopening Virginia in the COVID-19 pandemic may look like, and on Monday Loudoun County Health Department Director Dr. David Goodfriend said the numbers here are better than anticipated.

Northam said when the commonwealth sees a downward trend in positive COVID-19 tests and hospitalizations over a two-week period, increased testing and contact tracing, adequate hospital space, and a sustainable supply of personal protective equipment, it may be time to move ahead with the first stage of reopening businesses.

That first phase of reopening, as Northam described it Friday, is not altogether different from how things are now, with some businesses reopening with strict safety restrictions, continued social distancing and teleworking, and face masks still recommended in public. Northam said the earliest that could happen would be May 8.

The signs in Loudoun are hopeful.

On a Facebook live stream with County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), Goodfriend said the numbers in Loudoun are much lower than anticipated a month ago—because Loudouners are practicing social distancing, and it’s working. Loudouners, he said, are “doing everything they can do not get infected and not to spread their infection to others, because we know there are a lot of folks who may never know they were infected but could spread it to others.”

He said there are some signs Loudoun may be near the peak in terms of new infections, but with infected people taking as long as two weeks to show symptoms, it can be hard to tell. And, he said, relaxing social distancing will also mean a new jump in cases, with the same lag in finding out about new infections.

“When you think of it again as a faucet or a spigot, we’re at a fairly slow drip right now,” Goodfriend said. “… When that’s loosened up, that water’s going to be running for a while before we realize we may have loosened it too much. So, critical to that is very good testing throughout the county, good contact investigation, and before we loosen up, a decrease in percentages of tests that are coming back positive.”

The number of COVID-19 cases around the world exceeded 3 million on Monday, with nearly one-third in the U.S. In Virginia, the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients exceeded 2,000 for the first time, as the death toll climbed to 458, including 12 in Loudoun County.

The Loudoun County Health Department was reporting 628 cases as of Sunday evening, with 78 hospitalizations. At the same time last week, there had been 446 known cases locally, a 39 percent increase. The number of hospitalizations increased 12 percent during that period.

During his public briefing Monday afternoon, Northam said the commonwealth’s testing capacity has increased by 41 percent over the past week, up to 4,000 tests per day. According to the latest figures, just over 80,000 COVID-19 tests have been processed in Virginia to date, equivalent to 0.94 percent of the total population. About 0.8 percent of Loudoun residents have been tested.

Northam said that when testing began samples were being sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta for processing and that the efforts to ramp up in-state testing were hampered by a lack of needed supplies.

“We’ve come a long way in just over six weeks,” he said, adding he expects Virginia’s testing capacity to increase to 10,000 or more per day. “The testing is improving every day.”

He also encouraged Virginians on Friday to keep observing social distancing and other precautions.

“You aren’t just protecting yourself, you’re protecting other people, and that is the most important part of these efforts,” Northam said. “None of us is in this alone. All of our decisions impact other people, other Virginians.” And, he said, “as soon as we can put this health crisis behind us, we will be able to get our economy up and running again.”

“People are anxious to go back into society, but the last thing they want is to have that faucet open too soon or too much, and we find we’re back where we were a month ago where we’re on a steep curve,” Goodfriend said.

2 thoughts on “COVID-19 Cases Continue to Climb; Officials Look Toward Eventual Reopening

  • 2020-04-28 at 12:58 am

    The statistics and updates of daily toll are both alarming and numbing. Gathering from the studies, it seems that one thousandth will die of COVID19. And as the White House doctors pointed out, one out of every 100 infected will die. Dr. Fauci pointed out that the infection rate is ten times the rate of common viruses.

    And thus the estimated 100,000-240,000 death in U.S. cannot be mitigated without intervention from above. This alarming numbers should drive leaders and lay to our knees to pray sincerely–as President George Washington did–and with contrition for our wrongdoings to the one true God of heaven and earth and Christ His Son, for His deliverance.

    Now the truth is well known that China under-reported its casualties to save face and to vacuum up international supply of PPE as White House trade adviser Peter Navarro accused China. Proverbs 12:26 states, one who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor but the way of the wicked leads them (his neighbors) astray. What shame, disgrace, and treachery! Dr. Birx highlighted how China hid critical information about the outbreak. She said that on February 3, the head of the W.H.O. said there was no reason to ever do a travel ban! And it wasn’t until January 14th that we knew that there was human-to-human transmission. Covid-19 was spreading in U.S. already in Jan and Feb through international travel from Wuhan and Italy.
    When the pandemic has passed, nearly 10 million people worldwide will have died, including unreported and unknown cases, due to coronavirus. China is to blame for the greater death. In effect China has mass destructed the world without launching a single nuclear missile.

  • 2020-04-29 at 8:55 am

    It’s time to begin easing the governors tyrannical overreactions, especially in parts of the state where Coronvirus infections are extremely rare. And it’s rare in 80 to 90% of the state.

    The IHME “model” has adjusted the Virginia death toll downward over the past three weeks from more than 1100 to now 634. The projected death toll from a very flawed model has decreased significantly in a just a few weeks. And, as is the case nationwide, most of those who have died are elderly with other medical conditions.

    Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that far, far more people have been infected showing few to no symptoms. Calculating a meaningful mortality rate from the virus, discounting government fudging numbers, will be nearly impossible but it is certainly nowhere near 6% and nowhere near 1%. In fact, it is a fraction of 1% and some early estimates show it is hardly more deadly than any other seasonal flu in the general population. And we have no way of knowing that “social distancing” is responsible for the drop in reported infections and hospitalizations and deaths because the model is so fundamentally flawed.

    I take precautions and I understand we are in a region where Coronavirus is more common. But let’s put this in perspective. There are 688 reported cases in Loudoun County, 88 people are hospitalized and tragically 12 have died. There are 413,000 residents in Loudoun. That means 1.67 people out of every 1,000 residents have tested positive over the last several months.

    It’s time for the governor to calm down and allow the rest of the state to get back to normal. Northam has abused his powers and Judge Yeatts verbally admonished the governor in a recent ruling:

    “The governor appears to argue that, when he declares a state of emergency, he can ignore any law that limits his power, even laws designed to limit his power during a state of emergency…The court cannot agree with such an expansive interpretation of the governor’s authority.”

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