Cases of COVID-19 skyrocketed around the area Wednesday as the Lord Fairfax Health District reported 174 new cases, an increase that dwarfed its previous single-day highs of 113 cases on Tuesday and 80 new cases on Saturday.

For the second day in a row, Frederick County set records for new cases. On Tuesday, the county reported a high of 59 new cases and on Wednesday it added 88.

Winchester, Shenandoah County and Clarke County also reported new single-day highs on Wednesday, according to the Virginia Department of Health’s online dashboard at

As cases have continued to rise around the commonwealth, Gov. Ralph Northam reminded Virginians in a Wednesday news conference to consider the risks of not taking precautions against spreading the virus.

“I do not intend for things to get worse before taking action,” he said. “That is why we have put new mitigation measures in place to help slow the spread of this virus.”

Included in the restrictions, which took effect at midnight on Monday, are limiting social gatherings to 25 people or fewer. He said the restrictions apply statewide because they’re needed in every region.

Southwestern Virginia is still seeing the highest number of new cases, Northam said, previously explaining that the region lacks the density of hospitals in other regions; but numbers are also rising in every other region, he said.

On Wednesday, Frederick County reported five new hospitalizations and one death. Since the pandemic started, the county has recorded 1,646 cases, 111 hospitalizations and 17 deaths.

Other area localities also reported higher than normal increases.

Clarke County hit a new high for a second day in a row, adding seven cases in addition to Tuesday’s five new cases. The county’s previous high was four cases in one day, which it hit twice in October and twice in November.

Shenandoah County hit a new high of 26 cases, up from its previous high of 25 on May 6.

Winchester hit a high of 29 cases, up from its previous high of 19 on Saturday.

Warren County added 16 new cases and Page County added eight.

The Lord Fairfax Health District reported eight new hospitalizations and one death on Wednesday. It now has 5,115 cases, 401 hospitalizations and 140 deaths.

The Virginia Department of Health reported 2,071 new cases around Virginia, its fourth-highest single-day increase of the pandemic, along with 99 hospitalizations and 25 deaths.

It now has 208,833 cases, 13,707 hospitalizations and 3,860 deaths. Of those, 19,980 cases, 232 hospitalizations and 291 deaths are probable.

Virginia’s seven-day average for new cases is 1,761, up from 1,693 on Tuesday. Its seven-day positivity rate for PCR tests is 7.1%, down from 7.4% on Tuesday.

Virginia has had 1,453 outbreaks, an increase of 13 from Tuesday, and 31,047 outbreak-associated cases.

The local health district has seen 55 outbreaks, with no change since Tuesday.

The district’s seven-day average for new cases is 78.

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, Northam cautioned people to avoid meeting in large gatherings but instead, where possible, meet in smaller groups, meet outside or, safest of all, meet virtually through Zoom or another video chat service.

Additionally, he reminded people to wear masks, wash hands frequently and maintain proper social distancing when around people in the community.

“Do what we all know works,” he said. “Be smart, be careful, and think of those around you.”

Shenandoah County Public Schools at reported four students and two staff members with active cases.

Signal Knob Middle has three student cases and Strasburg High has one. The school division office has one staff case.

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

Warren County Public Schools at listed two active student cases at Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary, one at Skyline Middle and one at Warren County High. It has one active staff case each at Ressie Jeffries Elementary, Skyline High and Warren County High along with four at the central office.

Its online dashboard lists 54 students (up nine from Tuesday) and 12 staff members (up four from Tuesday) quarantining because of contact with the virus. Since Sept. 8, the site said it’s had eight positive cases among students and 10 among staff. All schools remain open, the site says.

Winchester Public Schools at lists eight active student cases and 10 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 36 staff members (up eight from Tuesday) and 94 students (up 38 from Tuesday) self-quarantining. All city schools remain open.

Clarke County Public Schools, which updates its dashboard with weekly totals each Wednesday at, lists 14 students and three staff self-quarantining, up from the six students and two staff self-quarantining as of Nov. 11.

Clarke County High has one active case among staff and the county joint maintenance and finance departments have two. D G Cooley Elementary has one active case for a contracted service employee assigned to that school. All schools remain open.

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

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

Local cases

Frederick County has had 1,646 cases (up 88) 111 hospitalizations (up five) and 17 deaths (up one)

Shenandoah County has had 1,225 cases (up 26), 112 hospitalizations (up one) and 62 deaths

Winchester has had 818 cases (up 29), 48 hospitalizations and four deaths

Warren County has had 724 cases (up 16), 53 hospitalizations (up two) and 24 deaths

Page County has had 535 cases (up eight), 58 hospitalizations and 31 deaths

Clarke County has had 167 cases (up seven), 19 hospitalizations and two deaths

Regional cases

Harrisonburg in the Central Shenandoah Health District has had 3,296 cases (up five), 103 hospitalizations and 36 deaths

Rockingham County has had 2,017 cases (up 12), 136 hospitalizations and 31 deaths

Contact Josette Keelor at