The Lord Fairfax Health District reported two new deaths from COVID-19 on Friday along with the week’s highest single-day increase in cases.
The deaths were reported in Warren County, which has had six deaths since Monday.
Since the start of the pandemic, the county has reported 563 cases (four on Friday), 39 hospitalizations and 20 deaths.
The health district, which covers Winchester and the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren, added 36 new cases on Friday.
Including 47 cases counted in the district last weekend, the Virginia Department of Health reported a seven-day total of 214 new cases, as well as 16 new hospitalizations and seven new deaths.
Frederick County has added 69 cases since Oct. 16. Warren County reported 49 new cases. Shenandoah County and Winchester each added 39 cases, Page County added 15 and Clarke County, after adding and subtracting cases throughout the week, ultimately added three.
Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail, situated in Warren County, has 21 confirmed cases (15 inmates and six staff members) as of Friday.
Area public schools were also affected by the uptick in cases over the last eight days, closing five local schools temporarily because of staffing challenges.
Shenandoah County Public Schools has reported 14 active cases of COVID-19 among students and staff across the division’s 10 schools, according to its online dashboard. Nine of the active cases are among students and six are among staff, the dashboard says.
Student cases were reported at all three county high schools, as well as Triplett Tech, W.W. Robinson Elementary and Sandy Hook Elementary. Staff cases were reported at Robinson, Stonewall Jackson High School, Central High School, Triplett and also at the division level.
Three schools — Central High, Strasburg High and Peter Muhlenberg Middle — are on temporary virtual learning while the schools are low on staff members, though Peter Muhlenberg is scheduled to return to hybrid learning on Monday.
Warren County Public Schools all remain open, and the division’s dashboard lists one active staff case. It also accounts for 21 students and 15 staff members self-quarantining because they came in contact with an infected person.
The active case and 13 of the staff quarantines involve the Central Administrative Support Services, the online dashboard states.
Schools with self-quarantined students are AS Rhodes Elementary (four), Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School (three), Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School (nine), Ressie Jeffries Elementary School (three) and Warren County High School (one). LFKES and WCHS each have one staff member self-quarantining.
Winchester Public Schools announced on Thursday a virtual learning plan at Daniel Morgan Intermediate School. The school has temporarily closed for in-person learning until Oct. 29 after eight staff members were instructed to quarantine, The Winchester Star reported.
The school closed after the CDC changed its guidelines on Wednesday defining “close contact” with a person believed to have COVID-19. Close contact can now consider several brief exposures that add up to at least 15 minutes over 24 hours. The CDC previously defined close contact as being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.
Although the staff members have been exposed to the virus, WPS Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum said on Thursday there were no confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff at the school.
This is the second Winchester school to close because of recent COVID-19-related precautions. On Oct. 15, WPS announced it would close Frederick Douglass Elementary School until at least Monday.
Frederick County Public Schools has five active cases among staff and students, said Steve Edwards, coordinator of policy and communications for the division.
"They are following the guidance from the health department," he said.
The health district has reported 3,809 local cases since the pandemic started, including 319 hospitalizations and 128 deaths. The district has a seven-day average of 30.5 new cases as of Friday.
Virginia has also seen a generally high number of new cases this week, adding another 1,180 cases on Friday for a seven-day average of 1,023. On Friday, the VDH reported 67 new hospitalizations and 15 new deaths.
Since the pandemic started, the VDH has reported 171,284 cases, 11,280 considered probable. It’s reported 12,140 hospitalizations (122 probable) and 3,539 deaths (246 probable.)
Frederick County has had 1,137 cases (up 14), 82 hospitalizations (up one) and 13 deaths.
Shenandoah County has had 941 cases (up five), 97 hospitalizations and 60 deaths.
Winchester has had 588 cases (up 11), 40 hospitalizations and four deaths.
Warren County has had 563 cases (up four), 39 hospitalizations and 20 deaths (up two).
Page County has had 464 cases (up one), 49 hospitalizations (up one) and 30 deaths.
Clarke County has had 116 cases (up one), 12 hospitalizations and one death.
Harrisonburg in the Central Shenandoah Health District has had 2,962 cases (up eight), 98 hospitalizations (up one) and 35 deaths.
Rockingham County, also in the Central Shenandoah Health District, has had 1,721 cases (up 12), 125 hospitalizations (up one) and 26 deaths.