Data from the Virginia Department of Health shows that COVID-19 hospitalizations are up primarily but not exclusively due to hot spots in the Eastern Health Planning Region.

When viewed as a whole, the data showing new hospitalizations each day appears to be moving forward with regular ebbs and flows. However, Virginia’s key data measurements show that the seven-day average of people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 has been gradually rising since July 7. On Wednesday, the seven-day moving average was up to 1,241 people per day.

The seven-day average represents how many people are hospitalized with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms, not how many new patients are being admitted each day.

Gov. Ralph Northam responded to the outsized effect the eastern region is having on Virginia’s numbers Tuesday when he announced that the area will have to prepare for restrictions that go into effect this evening.

Since July 7, the eastern region has seen its average daily hospital population rise from 233 to 484. When data from the eastern region is excluded from Virginia’s aggregate figures, the hospitalization numbers are still going up but at a slower rate — from 607 on July 7 to 756 on July 29.

Despite the increased hospitalization rates, the VDH reports there still appears to be no concern that COVID-19 patients will overrun hospitals — the driving force behind initial lockdown measures. Hospitalizations are higher than they have been since the beginning of June but COVID-19 patients still make up a fraction of the 16,476 staffed beds in the state.

Placing restrictions back on hot spots may stanch the rising case and hospitalization numbers but Virginia is beginning to see a rise in deaths, too. Regardless of which region is excluded from Virginia’s aggregate numbers, the number of deaths by date reported and by date recorded are inching upward. Death figures are still near the lowest they have been since the beginning of the pandemic but Virginia has enjoyed a decline in deaths despite the recent surges in cases and hospitalizations.

The VDH reported the state has had 87,993 cases, 7,738 hospitalizations and 2,125 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Total figures include 3,293 probable cases, 46 probable hospitalizations and 105 probable deaths.

The Lord Fairfax Health District reported eight new cases and three new hospitalizations Wednesday, bringing its totals to 2,439 cases, 213 hospitalizations and 82 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Total figures include 273 probable cases, one probable hospitalization and seven probable deaths.

Local cases

Shenandoah County reported it has had 665 cases, 70 hospitalizations and 40 deaths.

Frederick County reported it has had 644 cases, 49 hospitalizations and seven deaths.

Winchester City reported it has had 390 cases, 28 hospitalizations and four deaths.

Warren County reported it has had 344 cases, 23 hospitalizations and seven deaths.

Page County reported it has had 330 cases, 36 hospitalizations and 24 deaths.

Clarke County reported it has had 66 cases, seven hospitalizations and no deaths.

– Contact Max Thornberry at mthornberry@nvdaily.com