VA Coronavirus Numbers On Decline, Nearly 100K Cases Avoided

Kathleen Sturgeon

VIRGINIA — The Virginia Department of Health said in its weekly report that the coronavirus is on the decline across most of the state due to public health restrictions that paused the epidemic in Virginia and bought time.

"The transmission rate, or R0, which averaged 2.2 before public health restrictions were put in place, has dropped dramatically," the Department of Health said. "It is below 1.0 and dropping in all but one region of Virginia, indicating the number of new daily cases should decline. A Fortune analysis of New York Times data showed Virginia had the largest statewide drop in new reported cases between May 26 and June 9. Though the scale was due in part to some nuances in data reporting, the trend in new cases by both report and onset date is distinctly downward. Other factors are holding steady as well. While restrictions are loosening, most Virginians are deciding to stay 'Safer at Home,' and business are following the Forward Virginia guidelines. Though it is still early, increased testing and tracing seems to be having the desired effect."

The reproduction rate is now at 0.724, and the Department of Health reports that 916,868 cases of the coronavirus have been avoided so far.

However, the department says uncertainties still remain. This week's model run shows several possible paths forward for Virginia.

"In those paths where Virginians continue to follow the Forward Virginia guidelines, and increased testing and contact tracing works, we continue to see a decline in new cases," the Department of Health said. "On other paths, we could see hospitals overwhelmed in all most of the state. There is reason to be concerned. Right now Virginia's cumulative case counts, represented by the black line to the right, track right in the middle of these scenarios. Cases are rising in some states, including key border states and states along the I-95 corridor. Protests are bringing people together throughout the United States, including in Virginia. We are just beginning to reopen, and it is unclear what impact all of these factors will have. Although the situation looks good right now, the path we take depends on all of us."

As of Sunday morning, 54,506 total cases of the coronavirus confirmed in Virginia, and 1,546 deaths from the virus. That is an increase of 637 cases and five new deaths from Saturday.

On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the expansion of the Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation, Virginia's cross-agency, cloud-based, data-sharing and analytics platform.

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have relied on data and science to better understand this novel virus and guide our decision-making process," said Northam. "The expansion of the FAACT platform is enhancing the way our state agencies and local health partners work together to protect the health and safety of Virginians, and helping us chart a safe, measured and successful path forward."

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Health, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association have joined the Commonwealth Data Trust and are sharing their data.

Related stories:

This article originally appeared on the Across Virginia Patch