COVID TESTING_SILHOUETTE1

Health officials conducted free COVID-19 testing on Nov. 11 at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. Officials used the Sharon Lilly 4-H FFA Show Barn to conduct the drive-through testing area.

The Lord Fairfax Health District saw its highest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, reporting 113 new cases. Its previous one-day high was 80 new cases on Saturday.

More than half of Tuesday’s new cases were in Frederick County, which accounted for 59. Comparatively, the whole district, which covers Winchester and the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren, reported 36 new cases on Monday.

There’s no immediate explanation for Frederick’s sudden rise in cases, said Health District Director Dr. Colin Greene. Though the district reported one new outbreak as of Tuesday, he said it wasn’t nearly large enough to account for that many new cases.

The district, which has seen a rise in daily cases over the last several weeks, has a current seven-day new case average of 62.

“Still a huge number of cases,” said Greene. “It’s more than in the spring. It’s also part of a broader scenario.”

Virginia and the rest of the country have seen large increases in cases throughout October and November, he said.

“This disease is, unfortunately, taking off like a rocket,” he said. “It’s been a rapid rise, [and] we haven’t seen it level off yet.”

There’s also been a “slight rise in the death rate,” he said.

Virginia’s seven-day average of 700-800 daily deaths in September has increased to a seven-day average of 1,214 daily deaths as of Monday.

“It’s still going up and it’s still alarming and it’s still dangerous,” Greene said.

The Virginia Department of Health on Tuesday reported 2,125 new cases, its second-highest during the pandemic after Monday’s 2,677 cases, which the VDH noted at its dashboard, vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus, was influenced by a delay in reporting while the site was updated for a few hours over the weekend.

Tuesday also brought 56 hospitalizations and 29 deaths in Virginia for a total of 206,762 cases, 13,608 hospitalizations and 3,835 deaths. Of those, 19,475 cases, 223 hospitalizations and 278 deaths are probable.

Virginia’s seven-day average of new cases is 1,693, up from 1,594 on Monday. Its seven-day positivity rate for PCR tests is 7.4% and has not changed since Monday.

The Lord Fairfax district now has 4,941 cases, 393 hospitalizations and 139 deaths.

Shenandoah County added 20 cases, Winchester 17, Warren 11, Clarke five and Page one.

Tuesday brought Clarke’s highest one-day increase of the pandemic and Winchester’s second-highest, following 19 new cases on Saturday.

Frederick’s previous one-day high was 35 new cases, which happened on Friday and again on Saturday. Frederick has added 205 cases in the last seven days. Its seven-day average for new cases is now 29.

Elsewhere in the region, Rockingham County and Harrisonburg saw high numbers on Tuesday, reporting 27 and 35 new cases, respectively. It was Rockingham’s fourth-highest one-day increase of the pandemic, all four of which have happened since Sept. 12.

Rockingham reported two deaths and Shenandoah one.

On Nov. 19, the health district hosted a COVID-19 testing day in Woodstock, which Greene said attracted about 165 to 170 patients.

With half of the results in, he said the tests have an approximate 5% positive return.

Two potential vaccines — one from Pfizer and one from Moderna — are being considered as solutions for the pandemic, and Greene was both encouraging and pragmatic in his advice for the coming months.

“Please get vaccinated once it comes out,” he said. “That’s our ticket out of this mess. … That’s a road to throwing our masks away.”

Public schools

Shenandoah County Public Schools at shenandoah,k12.va.us reported four students and two staff members with active cases.

Signal Knob Middle and Strasburg High each have two student cases. Central High and the school division office each have one staff case.

Peter Muhlenberg Middle is on a virtual learning model until at least Monday.

Warren County Public Schools at wcps.k12.va.us/index.php/covid-19-dashboard listed two active student cases at Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary, one at Skyline Middle and one at Warren County High, along with one active staff case at Skyline High, one at Warren County High and four at the central office.

Its online dashboard lists 45 students and eight staff members quarantining because of contact with the virus. Since Sept. 8, the site said it’s had eight positive cases among students and nine among staff. All schools remain open, the site says.

Winchester Public Schools at wps.k12.va.us/Page/11740 lists eight active student cases and eight staff cases.

Handley High has three staff cases and one student case, Daniel Morgan Middle has one student case, John Kerr Elementary has two student cases and Virginia Avenue Charlotte DeHart Elementary has one staff case. The site also lists 28 staff members and 56 students self-quarantining. All city schools remain open.

Clarke County Public Schools at clarke.k12.va.us lists six students and two staff self-quarantined as of Nov. 11. D G Cooley Elementary has one active case for a contracted service employee assigned to that school. The site, which updates its dashboard on Wednesdays with the week’s total cases, lists all schools as open.

Frederick and Page counties don’t have online dashboards for their school systems.

Since Aug. 21, Frederick schools have had 72 active cases among students and staff, Steve Edwards, coordinator of policy and communications, confirmed in a Tuesday email.

A call made to Page County Public Schools for its latest data was not immediately returned.

The health district has not confirmed any outbreaks in K-12 settings.

RSW Jail

A Tuesday post at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail’s online COVID dashboard at rswregionaljail.com says that five inmates currently have positive COVID-19 tests.

Local cases

Frederick County has had 1,558 cases (up 59), 106 hospitalizations (up one) and 16 deaths

Shenandoah County has had 1,199 cases (up 20), 111 hospitalizations (up one) and 62 deaths (up one)

Winchester has had 789 cases (up 17), 48 hospitalizations and four deaths

Warren County has had 708 cases (up 11), 51 hospitalizations and 24 deaths

Page County has had 527 cases (up one), 58 hospitalizations and 31 deaths

Clarke County has had 160 cases (up five), 19 hospitalizations and two deaths

Regional cases

Harrisonburg in the Central Shenandoah Health District has had 3,291 cases (up 35), 103 hospitalizations and 36 deaths

Rockingham County has had 2,005 cases (up 27), 136 hospitalizations and 31 deaths (up two)

Contact Josette Keelor at jkeelor@nvdaily.com