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Fairfax Out Of COVID ‘Red Zone,’ Vaccine Wait List Error Spotted

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VIRGINIA — Ten Virginia metro areas and 82 counties remain in the COVID-19 pandemic’s “red zone,” according to the latest report issued by the White House COVID-19 Team. The number of counties in the red zone was down by eight from the previous report while the number of metro areas in the red zone remained the same.

Red zones are metro areas and counties that during the previous week reported new cases at or above 101 per 100,000 population and a lab test positivity result at or above 10.1 percent.

Among the counties in the red zone were Prince William, Loudoun, Stafford and Spotsylvania. Based on improved data, Fairfax County dropped from the red zone into the “orange zone” where it joined the city of Alexandria.

Metro area and counties that reported new cases between 51 and 100 per 100,000 population and a lab test positivity result between 8.0 and 10.0 percent, or one of those two conditions and one condition qualifying as being in the red zone, are considered to be in the orange zone.

Arlington County dropped from the orange zone, where it had been for the previous two weeks prior to the release of the new report on Tuesday, into the “yellow zone.”

Metro areas and counties that during the previous week reported both new cases between 10 and 50 per 100,000 population, and a lab test positivity result between 5.0 and 7.9 percent, or one of those two conditions and one condition qualifying as being in the orange zone or red zone, are considered to be in the yellow zone.

Virginia ranked 10th in the nation in the highest coronavirus percent positivity rate among its residents, according to the report released Tuesday, compared to the 11th spot in the previous report. Oklahoma, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas have the highest lab test positivity rate in the nation.

The new COVID-19 weekly state report was the third one released by President Joe Biden’s administration since the new president took office. Former President Donald Trump’s administration declined to release the weekly COVID-19 reports for each state during the pandemic.

Vaccine Registration Systems

The Virginia Department of Health directed local health districts to shut down their vaccination registration systems as of 5 p.m. Friday. A new statewide system is scheduled to start up at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

COVID-19 vaccination signup systems will be shut down over the long holiday weekend as the VDH moves data to the centralized state system.

One jurisdiction in Northern Virginia opted to keep its own vaccine registration up and running.

Fairfax County chose to stay with its own registration system because it had spent a lot of money on developing it and officials believed it would be less confusing for residents.

“We invested a lot of resources into our registration system and worked out the kinks to ensure we continue to process more people than any other health district in the state,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said Friday in a statement. “At this point, I am glad we can maintain our system that residents are familiar with to cut down on confusion. We will continue to have conversations with the state about registration as the vaccine process rolls out.”

On Friday, the Fairfax County Health Department also launched a new dashboard with data on the COVID-19 vaccine. The data provides a better idea of where people are on the vaccine wait list.

According to the dashboard, 109,554 people are on the wait list as of Feb. 12. In all, 216,173 people have registered for the vaccine in the Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County, towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton, and cities of Falls Church and Fairfax.

After the rollout of the new system on Friday, worried residents who had registered but could not find their place on the wait list started contacting county health officials.

The local health department said it identified an error with its Vaccine Registration Status Checker that is affecting residents who registered in the 75 and older category before Jan. 18. Prior to that date, a ZIP code was not required to register. So, when people in that age category go to check on their status using the new system, they receive an error message that their registration is invalid.

“We are fixing the problem, and the people who are affected by this will be included the next time appointments are available,” the county health department said.

COVID-19 Data

The seven-day positivity rate for PCR COVID-19 testing in Virginia dropped to 9.8 percent as of Feb. 9, the most recent date for which the VDH has data. This is the first time the state has been below the 10-percent positive rate since Nov. 29 when the Virginia Department of Health reported a 9.4 percent rate.

After reaching a winter peak of 17.4 percent on Jan. 3, the statewide positivity rate has been steadily declining over the past 40 days.

As of Saturday, 1,298,573 doses have been administered in the state. According to VDH, 994,631 people have at least one dose (11.7 percent of the population), and 303,942 are fully vaccinated (3.6 percent of the population).

Vaccine doses administered by facility type include 446,310 by hospitals, 380,068 by local health departments, 169,863 by long-term care facilities, 133,972 by community health providers, 122,573 by medical practices and 45,787 by pharmacies.

On Saturday, 3,215 additional coronavirus cases and 30 deaths were reported in Virginia. Cumulative cases stand at 547,424, and there have been 6,996 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Hospitalizations decreased from 2,115 on Friday to 1,989 on Saturday. The current patients include 408 in the intensive care units and 262 on ventilators.

According to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, ICU occupancy among all hospital patients is at 81 percent, and ventilator use is at 33 percent.

The state is averaging 24,783 PCR testing encounters per day, which is down from a peak average of 35,090 testing encounters on Jan. 15.

Below are the latest coronavirus data updates for our coverage area from Friday to Saturday:

  • Alexandria: 9,946 cases, 496 hospitalizations, 104 deaths; increase of 43 cases and one hospitalization
  • Arlington County: 12,550 cases, 747 hospitalizations, 209 deaths; increase of 46 cases and one hospitalization
  • Fairfax County: 63,545 cases, 3,410 hospitalizations, 828 deaths; increase of 397 cases, 10 hospitalizations and one death
  • Fairfax City: 456 cases, 35 hospitalizations, 12 deaths; increase of two cases
  • Falls Church: 325 cases, 20 hospitalizations, seven deaths; increase of three cases
  • Loudoun County: 22,102 cases, 815 hospitalizations, 193 deaths; increase of 95 cases and one hospitalization
  • Manassas: 3,914 cases, 157 hospitalizations, 33 deaths; increase of six cases
  • Manassas Park: 1,104 cases, 66 hospitalizations, eight deaths; increase of two cases
  • Prince William County: 37,753 cases, 1,350 hospitalizations, 327 deaths; increase of 197 cases, two hospitalizations and one death
  • Fredericksburg: 1,693 cases, 90 hospitalizations, 14 deaths; increase of six cases
  • Spotsylvania County: 7,884 cases, 258 hospitalizations, 88 deaths; increase of 32 cases, three hospitalizations and one death
  • Stafford County: 9,061 cases, 297 hospitalizations, 54 deaths; increase of 46 cases and three hospitalizations

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