UPDATE: Northam responds after VDH reports largest COVID spike of the pandemic with over 12,000 new cases, nearly 400 new hospitalizations Wednesday

Coronavirus

UPDATE 3:24 p.m.: After Virginia health officials announced the Commonwealth’s largest single-day spike of the entire pandemic for both COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations Wednesday morning, Gov. Ralph Northam assured Virginians that such high numbers “are a reason for concern, but not a reason for panic.”

Northam’s office released the following statement from the governor on Wednesday, Dec. 29:

The COVID case numbers are a reason for concern, but not a reason for panic. It’s important to understand why.

We have all studied the “number of cases” for many months now, but this data point means something different today, compared to this time last year.

One year ago, vaccines had just become available, so nearly no one had gotten a shot. Today, more than 14 million shots have been given in Virginia. Only nine states have given more shots, and those states are all larger than Virginia. That’s good news, and it’s thanks to a lot of hard work by Virginians.

Vaccinations are keeping people safe, even as the omicron variant spreads. Data from around the world show that if people have gotten vaccinated, and then get COVID, then symptoms are likely to be minor. That’s how the vaccines are designed to work, and it’s more good news.

As the virus becomes endemic, it’s now time to study not only the number of cases, but also the severity of symptoms and the number of people going to the hospital.

The data are clear: Nearly everyone going to the hospital with COVID is unvaccinated. This is entirely avoidable, if everyone gets their shots.

This is really important, because people working in hospitals are exhausted—nurses, doctors, and everyone. They have worked tirelessly for months to care for people who have gotten sick. Please go to the hospital only if you believe you really need to. It’s not fair to put even more pressure on hospital workers to care for people whose sickness is avoidable.

Everyone can take easy steps to help.

Gov. Ralph Northam

Northam also offered the following suggestions for how Virginians can help curb this virus surge:

  • Stay away from people who have not gotten their shots.
  • Wear a mask when you’re around other people, especially if you don’t know whether they have been vaccinated.
  • If you have not gotten a booster shot, now is the time to do it. Shots are widely available at pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and health departments across the Commonwealth.
  • If you have children age five or older, getting them vaccinated will make it easier and safer for them to go back to school.
  • If you have chosen not to get your shots, you are urged to protect yourself and others by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

PCR tests are being offered around Virginia, with more rapid antigen test kits becoming available every day, the governor says. Follow this link to find COVID-19 testing sites near you.

In addition, the federal government is reportedly in the process of making more than 500 million free at-home tests available.

However, according to Northam, “It’s important to understand that supplies of rapid antigen tests are limited across the country, so everyone needs to use good judgment when seeking these.”


RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — On Wednesday morning, Virginia health officials reported 12,112 new COVID-19 cases — shattering the previous record for the largest single-day case spike of the entire pandemic — along with 37 new virus-related deaths, which brings the Commonwealth’s total coronavirus count up to 1,087,400 confirmed and probable cases and 15,541 confirmed and probable deaths.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) confirmed 787,538 cases and 12,986 deaths are related to the virus as of Wednesday, Dec. 29. However, 299,862 cases and 2,555 deaths are still reported as “probable.”

With Wednesday’s record-high jump in cases, VDH records show that more than half of the 10 highest case spikes of the entire pandemic are just from the last week:

  1. 12,112 new cases on Dec. 29, 2021
  2. 9,914 new cases on Jan. 17, 2021
  3. 8,756 new cases on Dec. 24, 2021
  4. 8,609 new cases on Dec. 25, 2021
  5. 7,439 new cases on Dec. 28, 2021
  6. 7,245 new cases on Jan. 18, 2021
  7. 6,757 new cases on Jan. 16, 2021
  8. 6,473 new cases on Dec. 23, 2021
  9. 6,172 new cases on Jan. 25, 2021
  10. 5,972 new cases on Dec. 22, 2021

Meanwhile, the department says the seven-day testing positivity rate for all types of COVID-19 tests has increased from 16 percent to 17.4 percent over the past 24 hours.

Health officials reported 12,112 new COVID-19 cases, 398 new virus-related hospitalizations, and 37 new virus-related deaths around the Commonwealth between Dec. 28, 2021 and Dec. 29, 2021. (Photo: Courtesy Virginia Department of Health)

According to VDH’s Wednesday update, more than 162,000 cases have been reported from the following localities in southwest and central Virginia:

  • Alleghany County: 2,493 cases (+10), 87 hospitalizations (+1), and 87 deaths (+1)
  • Amherst County: 4,822 cases (+27), 247 hospitalizations, and 63 deaths (+1)
  • Appomattox County: 2,681 cases (+9)134 hospitalizations (+1), and 38 deaths (+1)
  • Bath County: 569 cases (+9), 20 hospitalizations, and 15 deaths
  • Bedford County: 11,282 cases (+58)463 hospitalizations (+2), and 176 deaths (+1)
  • Bland County: 1,174 cases (+4), 53 hospitalizations, and 18 deaths
  • Botetourt County: 4,738 cases (+23), 105 hospitalizations, and 64 deaths
  • Buena Vista: 1,496 cases (+5), 36 hospitalizations, and 33 deaths
  • Campbell County: 8,214 cases (+44), 402 hospitalizations (+2), and 157 deaths
  • Carroll County: 4,684 cases (+17), 340 hospitalizations, and 112 deaths
  • Charlotte County: 1,515 cases (+8), 88 hospitalizations, and 30 deaths
  • Covington: 812 cases (+2), 34 hospitalizations (+1), and 19 deaths
  • Craig County: 741 cases (+5), 22 hospitalizations, and 11 deaths
  • Danville: 6,913 cases (+38), 397 hospitalizations (+1), and 210 deaths
  • Floyd County: 1,756 cases (+15), 55 hospitalizations, and 33 deaths
  • Franklin County: 7,255 cases (+50)303 hospitalizations (+4), and 128 deaths
  • Galax: 1,751 cases (+6), 142 hospitalizations, and 68 deaths
  • Giles County: 2,590 cases (+4), 99 hospitalizations, and 38 deaths
  • Grayson County: 2,588 cases (+9), 165 hospitalizations (+1), and 62 deaths
  • Halifax County: 4,490 cases (+32), 195 hospitalizations, and 126 deaths
  • Henry County: 7,642 cases (+56), 486 hospitalizations, and 210 deaths
  • Highland County: 228 cases (+4), 3 hospitalizations, and 4 deaths
  • Lexington: 1,707 cases (+7), 39 hospitalizations, and 38 deaths
  • Lynchburg: 12,913 cases (+122), 537 hospitalizations (+3), and 215 deaths
  • Martinsville: 2,363 cases (+11), 189 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths
  • Montgomery County: 12,941 cases (+60), 286 hospitalizations (+1), and 120 deaths (+1)
  • Nelson County: 1,681 cases (+14), 64 hospitalizations, and 24 deaths
  • Patrick County: 2,526 cases (+24), 139 hospitalizations, and 72 deaths
  • Pittsylvania County: 9,053 cases (+41), 413 hospitalizations (+1), and 140 deaths
  • Pulaski County: 4,769 cases (+20), 236 hospitalizations, and 105 deaths
  • Radford: 3,260 cases (+19), 56 hospitalizations, and 38 deaths
  • Roanoke City: 14,050 cases (+88)334 hospitalizations (+1), and 271 deaths (+1)
  • Roanoke County: 13,975 cases (+108)281 hospitalizations (+1), and 194 deaths
  • Rockbridge County: 2,416 cases (+6), 86 hospitalizations, and 69 deaths
  • Salem: 4,320 cases (+27), 107 hospitalizations, and 83 deaths
  • Wythe County: 5,127 cases (+29), 281 hospitalizations, and 118 deaths

**items in bold indicate increases or decreases in the total number of cases, hospitalizations, and/or deaths since the previous weekday**

Health officials say they have received 41,337 total records of confirmed and probable virus-related hospitalizations around Virginia as of Wednesday, which is 398 more hospitalizations than VDH reported on Tuesday, Dec. 28.

Not only does this mark Virginia’s highest single-day spike in hospitalizations of the entire pandemic, but it is more than double the previous record for the largest increase in hospitalizations from Dec. 23, 2020.

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