Arlington Hits Vaccination Milestone as Rate of New Cases Holds Steady

There are two pieces of good news and one notable bit of tragic news among the latest coronavirus stats for Arlington County.

As of this morning, the first of March, the Virginia Dept. of Health reported just 31 new COVID-19 cases in the county. The seven-day rate of new cases remains in a relatively tight range, around 300 new cases per week.

Arlington’s test positivity rate, meanwhile, has continued its steady fall, and currently stands at 4.5%.

Amid a rate of new cases that’s down significantly from the earlier winter peaks, Arlington’s rate of vaccinations has quickened.

The Virginia Dept. of Health reports that a total of 39,175 doses have been administered in Arlington. In all, 13,152 people in the county are fully vaccinated, after receiving both vaccine shots, according to the VDH data.

Over the weekend, the trailing seven-day average of daily vaccination doses given in Arlington rose above 1,000 for the first time. As of today, it stands at 1,164. While Arlington’s health department is only getting about 3,000 doses per week from the state, pharmacies and now grocery stores are administering vaccinations as part of a federal program.

The supply of vaccine should increase over the course of March, as shipments of the existing Pfizer and Moderna vaccines ramp up and as the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine starts to ship.

Despite the good news, the toll of the winter surge in cases is coming into sharper focus. The state health department has recently started tallying death certificates from earlier in the year, resulting in a jump in the count of reported COVID-related deaths.

“VDH is now processing 2021 death certificates related to the post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases,” the health department website says. “As a result, a larger number of deaths is expected to be added by report date.”

Over the past two weeks, 20 new COVID-related deaths have been reported in Arlington, bringing the pandemic total to 229 — nearly one out of every 1,000 county residents.

Serious illness from COVID-19 is also still being reported. Twenty-three new hospitalizations were recorded over that same time period.