(Updated at noon) It’s a tale of two Covids: the rate of new cases has shattered the previous record in Arlington, but so far there has been no significant increase in reported hospitalizations.
The Virginia Dept. of Health reported 286, 193, and 232 new daily cases over the past three days, respectively. Arlington’s previous single-day case record was 193 on Jan. 9.
The seven-day moving average of new daily cases currently stands at 172, well above the previous high point of just over 120 cases per day in January. The average was below 100 cases per day just three days ago.
Arlington’s test positivity rate, meanwhile, is rapidly increasing and currently stands at 6.5%, more than triple the positivity rate at the beginning of November, though lower than the current 9.3% rate statewide.
Testing shortages and long lines at testing sites are being reported in Arlington and around the region. Only one county-sponsored testing kiosk is open today “due to unexpected shipping delays of COVID-19 test kits,” Arlington County said today. A huge line could be seen this morning outside the lone county test site that remains open, in Courthouse.
⚠️Due to unexpected shipping delays of COVID-19 test kits, the @Curative kiosks at Arlington Mill & Virginia Highlands are closed today (Dec. 20). Patients will be notified. Courthouse kiosk remains open. Add'l opportunities can be found on VDH's website: https://t.co/XEF0vevXhW
— Arlington County (@ArlingtonVA) December 20, 2021
— Russell Imrie (@tweedyBard) December 20, 2021
Arlington Public Library, meanwhile, says it is out of at-home tests and has not received new shipments from the state.
“When VDH makes a delivery, we will update the status on our web site and post to our social media channels,” a library spokesperson told ARLnow this morning. “Please check back tomorrow.”
Friday, Dec. 16 Update:
Delivery of additional test kits from VDH did not arrive this week as anticipated. Please check back after Monday, Dec. 20 for further updates on availability.
All library locations are currently out of COVID-19 Rapid Antigen At-Home Test Kits. pic.twitter.com/pIu96YNkv5
— Arlington VA Pub Lib (@ArlingtonVALib) December 16, 2021
The World Health Organization said over the weekend that it’s seeing rapid growth in cases due to the new, more contagious Omicron variant.
“COVID-19 cases detected with the newest variant are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in areas where there is community spread, WHO said,” according to Axios. “Coronavirus cases are surging across Europe, largely driven by the Omicron variant… Cases in the U.S. are rising rapidly, with both New York and Washington, D.C., reporting record daily numbers Friday — and there’s no reason to think they’ve peaked yet.”
Arlington Public Schools, meanwhile, is reporting 105 positive tests among public schools countywide over the past seven days, according to its online Covid dashboard. The school with the most positive cases during that time period is Washington-Liberty High School, with 19.
On Saturday, the school sent an email to families saying that 15 new cases had been reported.
“Three Grade 9 students, five Grade 10 students, and two Grade 11 students, and five Grade 12 students at Washington-Liberty have tested positive for COVID-19,” said the email, obtained by ARLnow. The email added that close contacts of each of those students may need to quarantine, depending on several factors including mask usage.
“We want to assure you that the health and safety of our students, staff and families is a top priority for APS,” the email said.
Late last week, Northern Virginia health districts urged “vigilance” in the face of a “surge” of cases. From a press release:
As disease transmission increases, Public Health leaders in the Northern Virginia region (Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington Counties, including all towns and municipalities- and the City of Alexandria) are encouraging residents to maintain their vigilance in curbing the spread of COVID-19 to minimize hospitalizations and deaths during this winter surge.
Since the start of this pandemic almost two years ago, there have been more than 2,600 COVID-19 deaths, 9,000 hospitalizations, and 230,000 cases in northern Virginia. Many of the hospitalizations and deaths occurred during last winter’s surge.
Hospitalizations in Arlington have risen modestly over the past week, but remain relatively low. Two additional hospitalizations were reported today, bringing the seven-day moving average to just over one per day for the first time since the start of October.
At the height of the initial pandemic wave, in the spring of 2020, reported Covid hospitalizations peaked at more than a dozen per day.
The last reported Covid-related death in Arlington was on Dec. 3, more than two weeks ago.
One expert said over the weekend that Omicron does not appear to cause more serious illness, despite its greater transmissibility.
“What we’ve seen in South Africa in particular, is a decoupling between the cases and hospitalizations,” former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on CBS’s Face the Nation. High levels of vaccination and immunity from prior infection may be helping to tamp down on serious illness from Covid, he added.
Mike Silverman, chief of the emergency department at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, wrote in his weekly public Facebook post on Friday that the hospital is seeing more people falling ill from Covid.
“I can honestly say that I personally saw more patients with COVID this week than I have in the last 4 to 6 weeks combined,” Silverman wrote. “The first patient I saw this week was critically ill and was admitted to the ICU. He had been diagnosed a couple of days before coming to the hospital.”
Silverman noted that most of the more seriously ill Covid patients are not vaccinated. In Arlington, 92.6% of the adult population has received at least one vaccine dose, according to VDH.
More from Silverman:
One way we account for these patients is by tracking the number of our times we use our “COVID isolation” order set. We also track the disposition (admit, discharge, etc) for patients who require this order set. We’ve seen a definite increase in the number of times we use this order set over the past 2 weeks. We’re also seeing an increasing number of patients requiring hospitalization who are covid positive, though the actual percentage of patients in “covid isolation” has not climbed. Looking at our hospital census, it’s grown a lot since last week. Most of the patients who get admitted are not vaccinated.[…]
The very sick patients we’re seeing are generally not vaccinated. Most of the patients I am discharging, are vaccinated. It continues to be very simple, if you are not vaccinated, you need to get vaccinated. If it has been 6 months since your second dose of mRNA vaccine, get your booster. Also, if you haven’t already, please buy a pulse ox. They cost about $15-25 and can be used to assess your oxygen level. If your level is below 92%, seek medical attention.
Thus far Arlington County and Virginia have announced no new mitigation steps in the face of rapidly-rising tests. Just across the Potomac, however, D.C. this morning announced that it will reinstate its mask mandate while expanding testing.
DC's indoor mask mandate begins tomorrow at 6 AM and will last through at least Jan. 31
— Jessica Sidman (@jsidman) December 20, 2021
Good Tuesday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 42526 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
Two local chefs have been named semifinalists for a prestigious James Beard award.
The Ballston and East Falls Church Metro stations are among those set to be impacted by a multi-week closure starting in June.
Fairlington author Amina Luqman-Dawson has received two awards for her novel, “Freewater.” The middle-grade book about a secret community of formerly enslaved people living in the wilderness received both the…
Need help dealing with anxiety, depression or stress?
If you’re struggling to cope with anxiety, depression or stress, our virtual psychotherapy services can help. We offer a confidential and convenient service that’s tailored to your needs.
In our practice, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is an important tool we use to provide effective relief for those facing anxiety and depression. We believe that cognitive change can be used to improve behaviors and emotions, thus allowing you to achieve mental wellness. By understanding the cognitive distortions that lead to negative thought patterns, we are able to create interventions tailored to each of our clients. This empowering approach can help you gain control of how your own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors impact your experience. With CBT, our service provides an effective treatment that can bring long-term change and mental stability.
Book a free consultation today and see how we can help you live a happier and healthier life.
St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, join us for a series of vignettes that revolve around the theme of love. Taking place in an almost-town called Almost, Maine, we will show you different, but important, facet of love in each