COVID-19 community transmission remains substantial in Fairfax County

Coronavirus (Photo via CDC on Unsplash)

Fairfax County is still seeing substantial levels of COVID-19 community transmission, necessitating the continued use of masks as the county hopes to get the coronavirus back under control with schools set to reopen next week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health measure community transmission levels using the total number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people and the percentage of positive tests in the past seven days.

Fairfax County’s testing positivity rate for the week of Aug. 8-14 was 4.5%, up from 3% at the end of June but still in the threshold for “low” transmission. However, the county has recorded 76.2 cases per 100,000 people in the past week, which is high enough to be considered substantial transmission.

With the addition of 103 cases today (Monday), the Fairfax Health District, including the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, has recorded a total of 81,427 COVID-19 cases during the pandemic. 4,213 people have been hospitalized, and 1,154 people have died, including one person within the past week.

The county is now averaging 136.4 new daily cases for the past seven days — the highest weekly average since April 23, which had a seven-day average of 141.6 cases, according to VDH.

Fairfax County COVID-19 cases over the past 180 days as of Aug. 16, 2021 (via Virginia Department of Health)

The Fairfax County Health Department had not noticed a “discernable” increase in vaccination rates over the four weeks since the Delta variant-fueled rise in cases began, a department spokesperson told Reston Now last Monday (Aug. 9), but since then, an additional 9,697 Fairfax Health District residents have gotten their first vaccine dose.

In comparison, just 4,627 people obtained their first shot between Aug. 2 and 9.

Overall, 774,782 Fairfax Health District residents have received at least one vaccine dose. That is 65.5% of the total population and 77.6% of residents 18 and older, according to the county health department’s vaccine data dashboard.

699,412 residents — 70.6% of adults and 59.1% of the total population — are now fully vaccinated.

VDH announced on Friday (Aug. 13) that it will provide third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people with moderate to severe compromised immune systems in accordance with a new recommendation by the CDC.

“Studies have shown that people with a compromised immune system can have a weak response to the standard vaccine regimen, and that a third dose is needed to strengthen immunity in these persons and protect them from serious COVID-19 complications,” VDH said in its news release.

According to CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, immunocompromised people have accounted for 40 to 44% of the hospitalized breakthrough cases reported in the U.S.

As of Friday, Virginia has recorded 4,056 breakthrough COVID-19 cases, including 233 hospitalizations and 52 deaths. However, 240,980 cases, 8,383 hospitalizations, and 2,786 deaths have involved a person who is only partially vaccinated or not vaccinated at all.

98.3% of all cases, 97.2% of hospitalizations, and 98.2% of deaths are people who are not fully vaccinated.

Photo via CDC on Unsplash

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