COVID-19 deaths in the Lord Fairfax Health District swelled by 15 in the last three days, Health Director Colin Greene noted Monday, to his “great dismay.”
Since local case counts have been “dropping rapidly,” he said, “this is almost certainly a ‘data dump.’
“[It’s] most certainly NOT reflective of the actual death rate in the district, which has also been dropping,” he wrote in a Monday email.
Similarly, he said, the simultaneous bump in statewide death rates is “due to an accounting process, and not a massive number of new COVID deaths.”
A data dump could occur from “a backlog of undecided death cases that were finally worked through, leading to the inclusion of deaths that had occurred in the past,” he said.
“I strongly doubt that any nefarious intent was involved,” he said.
“I have personally been involved in the decision-making process on one medically challenging case where the final recommendation was not to blame the death on COVID,” he said. “Unfortunately, cause of death is not always clear.”
As of Monday, the Virginia Department of Health, at its COVID-19 dashboard, vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-in-virginia, had posted a notice saying it’s “now processing 2021 death certificates related to the post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases.”
Therefore, it says, “a larger number of deaths is expected to be added by report date.”
Virginia on Monday added 1,155 new COVID-19 cases, as the Lord Fairfax district added 28.
Frederick County added 12 cases, Warren County and Winchester five each, Shenandoah County three, Page County two and Clarke County one.
No new hospitalizations were recorded.
Shenandoah and Frederick each reported two deaths as of Monday, while Winchester and Clarke each reported one.
Elsewhere in the region, Harrisonburg reported seven new cases and no hospitalizations or deaths, bringing its totals to 5,642 cases, 156 hospitalizations and 68 deaths.
Rockingham County reported three new cases, and no hospitalizations or deaths for a total of 5,986 cases, 303 hospitalizations and 80 deaths.
The Lord Fairfax district administered 129 new vaccine doses as of Monday, fully vaccinating 74 people.
The VDH reports that 1,121,215 people (or 13.1% of the population) statewide have received at least one vaccine dose, and 481,287 people have been fully vaccinated.
Winchester has reported 15,026 doses so far, along with 5,861 people fully vaccinated.
Frederick reported 13,125 doses administered and 4,876 people fully vaccinated.
Clarke reported 4,241 doses and 1,686 fully vaccinated.
Shenandoah reported 11,000 doses and 4,049 fully vaccinated.
Page reported 4,933 doses and 1,530 fully vaccinated.
Warren reported 7,592 doses and 2,796 fully vaccinated.
Area public school divisions have posted online updates of active COVID-19 cases among staff and students participating in hybrid or in-person learning. Data on full-time home-based students and staff may not be available.
Schools in Shenandoah and Clarke are reporting no COVID-19 cases among their staff and students, though Clarke County reports five students under self-quarantine.
Warren County schools, as of Monday, have two student cases and one staff case, along with 30 students and four staff members quarantining because of contact with the virus.
Hilda J. Barbour Elementary has one student case. Skyline High has one student and one staff case.
Since Sept. 8, the school division has had 72 positive cases among students and 56 among staff, as well as 514 students and 135 staff quarantined because of direct contact cases.
Winchester Public Schools has three staff cases and three student cases.
John Handley High has two staff cases and one student case. Daniel Morgan Intermediate has one student case. Frederick Douglass Elementary has one staff and one student case.
The division also lists eight staff members and 24 students on active self-quarantine. From Sept. 8 to Jan. 27, the division has had 96 positive student cases and 57 positive staff cases, along with 611 students quarantined and 322 staff members quarantined.
Frederick County schools on Monday reported one new student case at Redbud Run Elementary and one at Robert E. Aylor Middle School.
Since Sept. 8, the division has had 170 employees and 301 students with positive cases with the following cumulative totals as of Feb. 19:
Elementary schools: Apple Pie Ridge 11, Armel five, Bass-Hoover 14, Evendale 16, Gainesboro 18, Greenwood Mill 17, Indian Hollow seven, Jordan Springs 16, Middletown 11, Orchard View 11, Redbud Run 19 and Stonewall 15.
Middle schools: Admiral Bryd 30, Frederick County 23, James Wood 18 and Aylor 16.
James Wood High has had 41 cases, Millbrook High 69 and Sherando High 75. The Dowell J. Howard Center has reported two cases, NREP at Senseny Road School 10, the Facilities Services Department two and the Transportation Department 25.