Is it safe to travel? A snapshot of COVID as Virginians head for the holidays


(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Data from the Virginia Department of Health shows COVID-19 cases slightly trending upward in the Commonwealth this month.

In mid-September, cases spiked with the average reaching as high as 3,689 cases a day. Some days in September there were over 4,400 cases reported. From that point, daily cases started decreasing, reaching a trough at the beginning of November.

Now as Virginians are solidifying their Thanksgiving plans and packing up to hit the road, cases are starting to go up.

On Nov. 17 there were 2,532 cases reported. As of Friday the 7-day moving average is 1,518 – just slightly higher than the 1,250 average reported on Nov. 6.

In Central Virginia the average is currently 250 cases reported a day.

Since the start of the pandemic, Virginia has seen 953,460 total cases. If cases stay around their current rate the Commonwealth could hit 1,000,000 in less than a month.

VDH data says community transmission of COVID-19 is high in most of the state. Eastern and Northern Virginia are currently listed as substantial with slightly lower transmission than the rest of the state. In Central Virginia, transmission is mostly high but Henrico and Chesterfield are substantial. Petersburg is listed as having low transmission rates.

Over the last seven days about 5.8% of PCR COVID tests taken in Virginia have come back positive. Virginia is seeing an increase in testing positivity rates for the first time since September.

Nationwide, states are seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases – but Virginia isn’t seeing as large of an increase. According to a data analysis by the New York Times, Virginia is seeing a 14% increase in cases compared to two weeks ago. Many other states are seeing much higher increases with Massachusetts and Rhode Island seeing increases of over 100%.

Virginia has fairly high vaccination rates with rates higher than most southern states but lower than the majority of the mid-Atlantic and New England. Overall, 64.3% of people in Virginia are fully vaccinated as of Friday. More are on their way to full vaccination with 73% of people already having one dose of vaccine.

The CDC announced booster shots would be available to all adults on Friday. In Virginia, so far 1,017,701 people have gotten a booster or third dose.

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