Following a statewide, national and global trend, Loudoun is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. The county’s daily average of new cases has doubled since Sept. 30, to 53 as of Sunday.
That increase comes as the average rate of positive tests continues to hold below 6% even as the number of daily tests reaches its highest level, nearly 700.
Perhaps most concerning is the increase in COVID cases requiring hospitalization. As of Saturday, the seven-day average of confirmed COVID patients in Loudoun was 15.5, the highest number since mid-June. The average number of patients undergoing treatment in hospitals has tripled since Sept. 23. The hospitalization count peaked May 30 at a daily average of 42.
“We have been seeing an increase in cases in Loudoun and the National Capital Region over the past two weeks,” Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend said. “It is uncertain at this time the cause of the increase, though anecdotally there appears to be some relaxing in people’s vigilance in preventing transmission through use of masks, face coverings and hand washing.”
He said it will be crucially important for residents to remain vigilant against the virus in the weeks ahead.
“Particularly as we start getting into colder weather, when we believe COVID-19 will be able to spread more easily, now is the time for everyone to renew their focus on reducing transmission to get our numbers as low as possible. This will help our schools and businesses reopen, and reduce the pressure on our hospitals which get busier every winter due to the flu and other winter weather infections,” he said.
Cases are on the increase statewide. In Virginia there 12.9 cases per 100,000 residents. In Loudoun, that rate has grown to 11.2, ranking 68th among Virginia’s 130 counties and cities, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute, which recommends stay-at-home orders when there are more than 10 cases per 100,000 residents.
The increasing numbers also could have an impact on efforts to return students to in-person learning. According to a new CDC metrics dashboard to guide school decision making, the 144.8 new case per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days puts Loudoun in a “high risk” category. And the 16.5% increase in new cases per 100,000 residents during the past seven days when compared to the previous seven days ranks in the “highest risk” category. Meanwhile, the testing positivity rate and hospitalization rates fall into the moderate or low risk categories.
To date, there have been 7,558 COVID-19 cases reported in Loudoun, with 468 requiring hospitalization and 129 deaths.