COVID roundup: 300K vaccine doses arrive in Va.
470 Virginians died last week as U.S. surpasses 500,000 virus-related deaths
Virginia received an influx of more than 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week, in part due to the weather-delayed delivery of 106,000 Moderna doses that were expected last week. The state also is receiving a bump in doses directed to local health departments and districts, as well as twice as many doses arriving in retail pharmacies, developments announced Friday by the state’s vaccine coordinator.
Meanwhile, the United States surpassed the grim benchmark of 500,000 COVID-related deaths Monday, near the one-year anniversary of the nation’s first coronavirus fatality. Virginia has recorded 7,486 COVID deaths since last March, including 470 fatalities over the past week, according to the Virginia Department of Health. That’s an increase of 274 deaths from the previous week.
The state saw a 13,732 increase in cases last week — a significant decrease from the previous week, when more than 20,000 were recorded. The state has reported 565,270 total cases, and its current seven-day positivity rate is 8.3%.
VDH officials in the Richmond area raised an alarm Monday that the Chickahominy, Chesterfield and Richmond/Henrico health districts have seen five confirmed cases of COVID-related Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) between October and Feb. 18. According to a New York Times story last week, the rare condition affects children and teens — in some cases leading to organ failure and death — and is becoming more common and more serious. Virginia has recorded 18 MIS-C cases statewide but no related deaths among patients under age 21, and State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver has urged all health care providers treating a patient with the condition to immediately report the case to their local health district.
As of Monday, 1.1 million people in Virginia, or 13.1% of the population, have received at least one vaccine dose, and 481,287 are fully vaccinated, VDH reports. Out of 2 million doses received by the state, 1.6 million have been administered.
The state slipped from ninth to 16th in the nation for its percentage of doses administered, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed by Becker’s Hospital Review. According to local heath districts, some vaccination appointments were postponed last week due to winter weather affecting much of the state.
Moving forward, Virginia expects to receive about 213,000 vaccine doses per week, vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said last week, and the vaccination program for Virginians age 65 and older will expand to more pharmacies beyond 36 CVS locations that started administering vaccines earlier this month. The state expects about 52,000 vaccine doses a week for pharmacies, and about 161,000 doses that will be distributed to local health departments, hospitals and pharmacies for other prioritized groups, including people with underlying health issues and essential workers.
Last week, VDH launched a statewide vaccine registration website for all Virginia residents who want a vaccine, as well as a phone hotline staffed by 750 employees from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Avula advised anyone who registered before this week with their local health district can call the hotline if their information does not show up on the website, vaccinate.virginia.gov. The number is (877) VAX-IN-VA, or (877) 829-4682.
With race and ethnicity information available for only 64% of people who have received shots in the state, the majority of shots were received by white, non-Hispanic people — 71.6% as of Monday, according to VDH. Black Virginians received 12% of shots, although they make up 19.9% of the state’s population, according to 2019 estimates by the U.S. Census; 5.6% of vaccines were given to Latino residents, who comprise about 9.8% of Virginians. State health officials have focused attention on equitable vaccination, especially as Latino and Black residents are heavily represented among people who have been infected, hospitalized and died from the coronavirus.
In Virginia, among 435,197 COVID cases in which race and ethnicity is identified, 21.7% are Black patients and 17.1% Latino.
As of Feb. 18, the following health districts have positivity rates of 10% or higher:
- Portsmouth — 17.2%, down from 17.8% on Feb. 11
- Hampton — 15.9%, down from 18.6%
- Pittsylvania-Danville — 14.2%, up from 13.7%
- Chesapeake — 13.7%, down from 19%
- Peninsula (Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, James City and York counties) — 12.2%, down from 12.7%
- Crater — 12.1%, up from 9.1%
- Norfolk — 11.9%, down from 13.9%
- Rappahannock (city of Fredericksburg and Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties) — 11.5%, down from 13.5%
- Virginia Beach — 11.2%, down from 13.1%
- Southside — 11.1%, up from 8.2%
- Chesterfield — 11.0%, down from 11.2%
- Prince William — 11.0%, down from 11.4%
- Three Rivers (Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland and Westmoreland counties) — 10.0%, down from 11.8%
- Western Tidewater (cities of Franklin and Suffolk and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties) — 10.0%, down from 12.1%
Globally, there are 111.6 million reported COVID-19 cases and 2,471,494 confirmed deaths, as of Feb. 22. The United States, which has the most confirmed cases and deaths worldwide, has seen 28.1 million confirmed cases so far, with 500,201 deaths attributed to the coronavirus since February 2020.