The number of new coronavirus cases is slowing down in Fairfax Health District, which is welcome news as the county prepares for cooler temperatures and the flu season.
Cases began rising this summer, about three weeks after Gov. Ralph Northam announced Virginia could enter Phase 3 of his statewide reopening plan. They peaked at the end of August, and have since dipped down slightly.
The weekly average of new reported COVID-19 cases has decreased slowly, but steadily, with Fairfax Health District reporting an average of 93 new cases over the last week. On Wednesday morning, 64 new cases were reported, according to local health data. Two deaths were reported on Tuesday, state data show.
The cumulative totals for all three currently stand at 20,640 cases, 2,153 hospitalizations and 596 deaths in the health district.
The rate of positive COVID tests also continues to decrease, down to 4.2 percent as of Monday morning, compared to 5.6 percent last week.
Recently, the Virginia Department of Health has started publishing data on COVID cases broken down by zip code. The highest rates of infection are found in and around the city of Alexandria and in municipalities that border Arlington County. Cities and towns outside the district’s urban center have lower infection rates.
One outlier is the zip code for Herndon, which has the fifth-highest infection rate in the district, or 3,368 cases per 100,000 people, according to the published data. The 20170 zip code is the only designated area with such a high rate that does not touch Fairfax County’s most populous regions.
Just as coronavirus cases decline, however, flu season is approaching. Anticipating the first day of fall, Tuesday, and the beginning of flu season, Reston Hospital Center launched a series of informational posts on its social media accounts to combat false information about vaccines and encourage residents to protect themselves against the flu.
We're launching a new social series this fall to clear up misinformation and help our communities stay healthy….
Health experts urge folks as young as six months old to get a flu shot, as it will reduce the chance of exhibiting symptoms that could be confused with those of COVID-19.
“Flu season is coming at a time when COVID-19 still is affecting many individuals in our health district,” said Fairfax Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu in a press release published Friday.
Keeping down the rates of illnesses, hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions for the flu will also alleviate stress on the healthcare system, officials say.
“To limit the possibility of widespread transmission of both viruses occurring in our communities at the same time, it is vital that everyone get their flu shot,” Addo-Ayensu said.
Image via Virginia Health Department