Press Club

Arlington Coronavirus Cases Reach New Summer Peak, Hospitalizations Remain Low

(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic in Arlington.

The bad news is that the rate of new cases reached a fresh two-month high over the weekend. On Saturday, the seven-day trailing total of new cases reached 156, the highest point since June 2, as the county came down from the peak of its epidemic.

As of this morning, that seven-day total has dropped to 146, with 14 new cases reported overnight, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data.

Also over the weekend, the state as a whole hit a new peak in cases, with 1,307 new cases reported throughout Virginia on Saturday

In Alexandria, Arlington’s neighbor to the south, there are concerns about a virus resurgence.

The president of Inova Alexandria Hospital told our sister site ALXnow that hospital teams are “exhausted” and “burned out” from treating COVID-19 patients.

In Arlington, however, hospitalizations remain low. In fact, there has only been one new reported COVID-related hospitalization in the county over the past week. The cumulative total of hospitalizations — currently 437 — has risen by only 41 over the past two months.

In his latest weekly Facebook post, Virginia Hospital Center emergency room chief Mike Silverman said the hospital is not seeing the level of seriously ill patients it once did.

“Our data continues to look good. Our percent positive rate within the hospital remains low and the number of patients we’re evaluating who require our ‘COVID isolation’ status dropped to the lowest number this past week that we’ve seen in months,” he wrote. “We are caring for COVID patients every day, but I’m not seeing any indication this past week that makes me think next week will be a lot worse. Something to watch.”

There are concerns, however, that the seeds of a fall epidemic are being planted by young restaurant- and bar-goers.

Last week DCist reported that contact tracing in the District has revealed an “increasing number” of coronavirus patients had dined at restaurants. Ten percent had also recently traveled.

In Arlington over the weekend, social media was abuzz with images from Clarendon, where large crowds lined sidewalks waiting for entry into popular nightlife venues, like the outdoor beer garden The Lot, flouting a recently-passed emergency ordinance requiring more distance between those queuing up.

Despite worries about the crowds, many experts say outdoor activities in general are considerably safer than indoor activities, including dining.

“We have very little evidence of outdoor transmission. It’s not zero — there are definitely cases reported — but it’s much, much lower than inside,” Gretchen Snoeyenbos Newman, an infectious-disease physician at the University of Washington, told the Washington Post in June.

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