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NEW: Arlington’s test positivity rate drops below 5%

Covid test positivity rate in Arlington (via Virginia Dept. of Health)

In another encouraging sign that we’re near the end of the current Covid wave, Arlington’s test positivity rate has dropped back below 5%.

The trailing seven-day average test positivity rate is now 4.8%, according to new Virginia Dept. of Health data. The local rate has generally stayed below 5% except during this winter’s Omicron-variant fueled wave, last winter’s wave, and the initial spring 2020 wave.

Cases are also continuing to fall, dropping to a daily average of 64 today, a tenth of the Jan. 12 peak of 646 cases per day. The last time the average rate of new Covid cases in Arlington was below today’s level was Dec. 10.

Covid cases in Arlington (via Virginia Dept. of Health)

Covid-related hospitalizations, meanwhile, have fallen to three per week as of this morning. Four Covid deaths have been reported over the past week in Arlington. Deaths are a lagging indicator that generally follow earlier rises in cases and hospitalizations.

At Tuesday’s County Board meeting, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said that “Arlington continues to see a decrease in our cases and hospitalizations.”

“While cases continue in the right direction, I just wanted to take the opportunity to remind everybody that they still need to use multiple strategies to keep themselves safe from COVID-19,” Schwartz said. “The best defense that we have against hospitalization and death is still vaccination and staying up with boosters.”

“In Arlington County, approximately 86% of eligible residents have received at least one dose, and 64% of the kids in the 5-11 year old range have at least one dose,” he noted.

Cases are falling across the Washington region. Earlier this week D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the District would lift its vaccine mandate for businesses and “dial back” some of its indoor masking rules. Virgina, which has generally had lighter restrictions than neighboring D.C. and Maryland during the pandemic, is set to make masks optional for public school students on March 1.

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