State seeing downward trend in COVID-19 numbers, but health experts say to stay cautious

Virginia seeing downward trend in COVID-19 cases

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On Tuesday, Virginia saw its percent positivity rate drop back down to 5.8% with local experts expressing the downward trend a good sign.

New state numbers show the number of people discharged from a hospital after getting COVID-19 continues to increase with more than 8,900 being discharged. Since the pandemic began, there have been 66,740 positive cases and 1,881 deaths from the virus including 28 deaths since Sunday.

“We have been able to maintain a pretty consistent downward trend in central Virginia of cases of hospitalizations, percent positivity has started to plateau the data looks good, but as we’ve seen in states across the country that could take a turn really quickly,” Dr. Danny Avula warned.

The Richmond-Henrico Health District Director attributes the downward trend to the majority of the population adhering to the lastest preventive guidelines for COVID-19, especially those who are most vulnerable.

“The percentage of people who are elderly and therefore most at risk for severe disease, we’re seeing that percentage of people decreases, which means that our older folks are steering clear of disease,” said Avula. “It also means that we have gotten better at treating this and we are seeing a higher and higher rate of those people being discharged at home.”

In other parts of the state like Hampton Roads, about 50 more new COVID-19 cases are being reported per day on average compared to a week ago, nearly triple its average of daily cases for most of the pandemic.

According to national experts, more than half the nation is seeing a surge.

“There is still a fair amount of circulating disease, and thankfully because of Virginia’s approach because of the slow phase approach we have been able to maintain a pretty consistent downward trend,” said Avula. “With the move into phase three undoubtedly we will start to see a rise in case counts, now the question is how quickly will that rise come and how high are we going to peak?”

Avula says the commonwealth will likely not see another spike for at least another one to two weeks because of the time it takes for the virus to incubate.

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