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JUST IN: New Covid case records for Arlington, but serious illness remains at pre-wave levels

Covid cases in Arlington as of 12/23/21 (via Virginia Dept. of Health)

There’s good news and bad news on the Covid front in Arlington.

The bad news is that the graph of new Covid cases continues going up and to the right. Arlington set fresh single-day and seven-day case records today, with 359 new cases reported today and a seven-day moving average of 258 cases per day, well exceeding the previous records — set yesterday.

Just over 1% of Arlington’s population has tested positive for Covid over the past two weeks, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data.

The good news is that there has still been no corresponding increase in serious illness beyond the pre-Omicron wave levels.

Covid hospitalizations in Arlington as of 12/23/21 (via Virginia Dept. of Health)

No new hospitalizations were reported today in the county, bringing the seven-day average daily hospitalization rate back down below one. The last Covid-related death in Arlington was on Dec. 3, according to VDH.

The lack of severe illness in the face of a major wave of infections may somewhat be explained by a lag time between testing positive and getting severely sick, but likely is better explained by Arlington’s relatively high vaccination rate. More than 93% of the adult population has received at least one vaccination shot, while 81.5% of adults in Arlington are fully vaxxed.

Amid massive lines at local testing centers, both the number of tests performed and the test positivity rate have been going up. More than 2,000 PCR-based tests per day have been performed over the past week, while the test positivity rate has more than doubled over the past two weeks, to 8.8% today.

Test positivity rate in Arlington as of 12/23/21 (via Virginia Dept. of Health)

“As the transmission increases, Public Health leaders in Northern Virginia are encouraging residents to maintain their vigilance in curbing the spread of COVID-19 to minimize hospitalizations and deaths during this winter surge,” Arlington County wrote in a COVID-19 update on Tuesday.

The county is urging residents who contract the virus to answer the call from contact tracers.

“If you test positive for COVID-19, please answer the phone call from Arlington Public Health to receive further guidance,” the county wrote. “If we don’t reach you, we will leave a message. In the meantime, please call your known close contacts to let them know they may have been exposed and encourage them to get tested, regardless of their vaccination status.”

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