Reston, VA

The Fairfax Health District reported 914 new COVID-19 cases today (Monday), a new single-day record for the district, which encompasses the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church as well as Fairfax County.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, Fairfax County reported 897 cases within the past 24 hours, while Fairfax City added 11 cases, and Falls Church added six.

With that flood of new cases, which Fairfax County attributes partly to a data reporting backlog, the Fairfax Health District has now recorded 40,551 cases since the pandemic first arrived in the area in March. 670 people in the district have died from the disease transmitted by the novel coronavirus, and 2,820 people have been hospitalized.

Today’s caseload easily surpasses the previous single-day record of 725 daily cases from Dec. 8, though the weekly average of 437.7 cases remains lower than Dec. 12, when the district averaged 505.1 cases over seven days.

The Fairfax Health District’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate is slightly up from last week, with a seven-day moving average of 11% as of Dec. 17. The 548,789 total testing encounters recorded in Fairfax is by far the most seen in any of Virginia’s health districts.

Fairfax County’s new COVID-19 daily case record comes on the same day that shipments of a vaccine from Moderna are expected to arrive in Virginia. The state had ordered 146,400 doses of the vaccine even before it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 18.

Pfizer has dispersed a total of 72,125 doses of its own vaccine to frontline healthcare workers in Virginia since it started distributing to hospitals in the state last week. A nurse at Inova became the first person in Fairfax County to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus on Dec. 15.

The VDH reported on Dec. 18 that the state will receive an estimated 370,650 vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna this month, a smaller allocation than the 480,000 doses that Virginia previously expected to get.

Even with the distribution of vaccines bringing hope of an end to the pandemic in the foreseeable future, local elected officials and health experts have emphasized the need to continue adhering to guidelines for limiting COVID-19’s spread, including wearing face coverings, avoiding travel, and following social distancing protocols.

“I understand everyone would like to see family and friends for Christmas,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Jeff McKay said. “Our COVID-19 cases are rising quickly, however, and we need residents to avoid gatherings with those outside of your household and travel.”

For lower-risk alternatives to typical holiday celebrations, the Fairfax County Health Department has recommendedgathering with family virtually, shopping online, and watching concerts or other festivities on TV.

Image via CDC on Unsplash, Virginia Department of Health

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