RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Both Henrico and Chesterfield Counties, as well as Virginia at large, have all reached critical levels of daily COVID cases – all within one day of each other, according to Covidactnow.org, a volunteer-run nonprofit that tracks COVID-19 statistics across the United States.

Covidactnow.org considers a locality to have critical levels of daily cases when there are more than 25 new cases for every 100,000 residents. 

On Dec. 6, Henrico County reported 98 new cases of COVID, or 29.7 cases per 100,000 people, and Virginia reported 2,264 new cases, or 26.8 per 100,000 people.

The next day, on Dec. 7, Chesterfield County reported 88 new cases, or 25 per 100,000 people.

This is cause for concern given the severity of the spike that began last November and lasted all the way until late February. The spike peaked in Virginia at 6,166 new cases on Jan. 18, in Henrico at 241 new cases on Jan. 19 and in Chesterfield at 293 new cases on Jan. 21. 

Chesterfield had six days with new cases at “extreme” levels between January and February, with daily new cases reaching over 75 per 100,000 residents.

Fortunately, due to 66% of Virginians now having been vaccinated for COVID, the Virginia Department of Health does not anticipate the spike in cases to be as severe this holiday season.

According to Katherine Long from VDH, despite the prevalence of vaccines, Virginians should still exercise caution when visiting with those who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised, as they have a high risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.

VDH has tips for those gathering for the holidays:

  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19, and get a booster shot if you’re eligible.
  • Wear a mask in public, especially in areas with high community transmission.
  • Stay isolated for a few weeks before meeting friends and family members, and use at-home tests before gathering.
  • Outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor, but increasing air flow indoors helps.
  • If you get exposed to COVID or feel symptoms, follow testing and quarantine guidelines. If you’re vaccinated, get tested 3-5 days after exposure. If you’re unvaccinated, the guidelines for quarantine are 14 days, 10 days with no symptoms or 7 days with no symptoms and a negative test.
  • Get a flu shot. Besides protecting yourself and others from the flu, a flu shot can help avoid the stress of developing symptoms and having to get tested for COVID.