As the winter months, colder weather and the holiday season are approaching, the coronavirus numbers, encompassing a number of different metrics, have been increasing throughout Virginia over the last month or so, according to government officials.
At a televised briefing Tuesday afternoon, Governor Ralph Northam said the state is seeing a rise in cases, percent positivity – now at 6.2 percent – and hospitalizations.
A report from the University of Virginia (UVA) Biocomplexity Institute published last Friday showed that the statewide COVID-19 reproduction rate is above 1.0 (1.031) and in all regions except one, meaning the virus is spreading quickly across the Commonwealth, and classifies five out of 35 health districts as a surge.
The UVA Biocomplexity Institute also uses an adaptive model, tracing past and current trends, to predict what could happen in the future. In that report, the model predicted there could be 202,040 total confirmed cases in Virginia by Thanksgiving, an increase of 41,197 confirmed cases from Saturday’s count.
New research from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) shows that excess, non-COVID-19 deaths increased over the course of the pandemic. The authors theorized that the pandemic caused “disruptions” that led to these deaths.
Non-COVID deaths accounted for over thirty percent of the overall excess deaths. The most significant non-COVID causes of death were heart disease, Alzheimer disease, and dementia.
Virginia plans on spending nearly $121 million on CARES funding for COVID-19 vaccine equipment and advertisement. This according to a proposal draft, reportedly submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.
Nearly $6 million will be spent on equipment: over $111 million on administration and staffing and $3 million in a “public education campaign.”
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) appropriated over $56,000 to fund a sex-help texting line for teenagers. The resource, BrdsNBz, doesn’t require parental permission.
VDH sent out postcards across the state inviting anyone ages 13-19 to anonymously text a number for sex education. BrdsNBz says it provides “medically-accurate information about sexual health topics” relayed by a trained “Health Education team.” It also promises “local resources and referrals,” though it does not mention what those entail.
The Virginia government will reportedly have spent over $1.7 million for the COVID-19 exposure reporting app COVIDWISE, which 13.5% of cell phone users have downloaded. Approximately $1.5 million was spent on marketing alone.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and SpringML Inc. received $229,000 in CARES federal emergency funding to co-develop and launch COVIDWISE. The app allows users to upload their positive test results, which allows other users to receive exposure notifications. Users will only be notified if they have been within a 6 foot vicinity for over 15 minutes.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on Monday launched a new pandemic metrics dashboard with more specific, aggregated data to show where COVID-19 is spreading in Virginia’s different regions and any changes occurring over time.
The new dashboard will be updated weekly and features three different tabs: About the Data, Daily Region Metrics, Weekly Transmission Extent. Additionally, School Metrics from the CDC are included within the dashboard.