Virginia’s COVID-19 hospitalizations spike

Virginia’s COVID-19 hospitalizations spike
The emergency entrance at INOVA Alexandria Hospital. (Photo/File)

By Denise Dunbar |

The Commonwealth of Virginia is experiencing a spike in the number of people currently hospitalized with confirmed or suspected but pending cases of COVID-19. Virginia’s current COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 38% since the end of the Fourth of July weekend.

The line represents the seven-day moving average of current hospitalizations and includes both confirmed and pending COVID-19 cases.

Virginia’s seven-day moving average of current COVID-19 hospitalizations – 1,052 as of Wednesday – was the highest it’s been since June 14, when it was 1,072, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. The number of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients, either confirmed or pending, is even higher: 1,081 as of Wednesday.

The state also experienced a slight surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations following Memorial Day weekend.

On May 22, the Friday at the start of Memorial Day weekend, there were 1,459 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Virginia, according to VHHA. That number rose to 1,524 by May 29, the Friday after the holiday weekend, but had fallen to 1,371 by June 1, a week after Memorial Day itself, a drop of 6% since before the holiday weekend.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Virginia then resumed their steady decline, dropping to 783 on July 6, their lowest point on the VHHA website, which only shows data since April 27.

The case spike surrounding the Fourth of July holiday weekend does not seem to be corresponding to that of Memorial Day. On Friday July 3 there were 818 current COVID-19 hospitalizations in Virginia. By Monday July 13, exactly one week after the end of the Fourth of July weekend, COVID-19 hospitalizations had risen to 1,129, an increase of 38% since the holiday weekend began.

It is difficult to extrapolate this data to Alexandria, since neither the Virginia Department of Health nor VHHA websites provide current hospitalization data by locality. The VDH website lists 253 hospitalizations for Alexandria, but that number is cumulative, not current.

VDH does have a chart that lists the number of Alexandrians admitted to the hospital on any given date, but it does not provide information on how many remain hospitalized. That chart shows a slight recent increase in daily hospital admissions for Alexandria since the start of the July 4 weekend.

The VDH website also includes the following disclaimer: “Hospitalization status at time case was investigated by VDH. This underrepresents the total number of hospitalizations in Virginia.” This underrepresentation in hospitalization numbers would also apply to Alexandria.

As with caseload numbers, Virginia’s COVID-19 hospitalizations fall in between those that are surging in North Carolina and dropping in Maryland – though Virginia’s are closer to their neighbor to the south than to the north.

Between June 15 and July 15, current COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Carolina rose from 797 to 1,142, an increase of 43%. In Maryland, current COVID-19 hospitalizations declined from 745 to 447, a 40% decrease. In Virginia, they climbed from 902 on June 15 to 1,081 on July 15, a spike of 20%.