Covid cases dropping in Arlington, though county remains in CDC ‘medium’ level

Covid cases in Arlington as of 8/9/22 (via Virginia Dept. of Health)

Don’t look now but Covid cases are declining in Arlington.

The average daily reported case rate in the county is currently around 90, down from 184 on Memorial Day. At the same time, the number of PCR tests performed in Arlington, as reported by the Virginia Dept. of Health, is also dropping and thus keeping the local test positivity rate high: just over 22%.

A possible explanation is that, unlike earlier in the pandemic when one sometimes had to test even when otherwise seemingly healthy, those testing are overwhelmingly those who are sick — and perhaps those who already tested positive via rapid tests and are just seeking confirmation.

Regardless, the decline in cases has also been noted at the hospital. From Virginia Hospital Center ER chief Mike Silverman’s most recent weekly Facebook post:

I continue to have friends who are getting COVID for the first time so it’s clearly around. However, our numbers show some improvement for the first time in weeks. The number of new COVID cases we diagnosed in the ER fell to its lowest level in a month and is 15% less than last week. Our percent positivity rate also fell from 13.8 to 11.8% over the last few weeks (6 week average of 12.5%). Although the number of patients currently hospitalized remains similar to last week (this number usually falls a few weeks after new diagnoses fall), the number of patients who required our “COVID isolation” protocol fell for the first time in 3 weeks. The number of these patients who required admission is down 20% from last week.

Despite lower cases, Arlington remains in the CDC’s “Medium” level of Covid, which it first entered in April. According to CDC data, Arlington is recording 6.6 hospital admissions for Covid per week, per 100,000 in population.

The good news on local Covid cases comes amid a number of developments, including new research showing that millions are suffering long-term smell or taste problems as a result of the disease, while perhaps 4 million are suffering debilitating “Long Covid” symptoms that are preventing them from working.

Also, the nation’s most prominent Covid case recently resolved, with President Joe Biden testing negative over the weekend after a “rebound” infection following his use of the antiviral treatment Paxlovid.