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Fairfax County reports rise in COVID-19 deaths over past week

An illustration of a coronavirus (via CDC/Unsplash)

Fairfax County’s late summer, Delta variant-fueled surge in COVID-19 cases may have plateaued with fall’s arrival, but an uptick in deaths over the past week suggests the full toll of the pandemic’s most recent wave is only just starting to emerge.

The county has reported 10 deaths from the coronavirus in the past seven days, including one person who died today (Monday), according to Virginia Department of Health data.

The Fairfax County Health Department said it can’t confirm whether that person was former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who died of complications from COVID-19 this morning. The first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell lived in Fairfax County but was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda at the time of his death.

“Dashboard data is dependent upon several variables, including when report of covid death is logged in state system by an investigator,” an FCHD spokesperson said by email.

The Fairfax Health District, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, has now seen 1,201 people die from COVID-19.

Fairfax County is averaging 1.4 deaths per day for the past week. The weekly average has exceeded one death per day since Oct. 9, when five new fatalities were reported — the longest such stretch since the end of May.

COVID-19 deaths in Fairfax County over the past 180 days as of Oct. 18, 2021 (via Virginia Department of Health)

In terms of overall cases, though, the county continues to see a decline from the Delta variant’s peak on Sept. 16, when it was averaging 204.6 new cases a day. With 83 cases added today, the county has reported a total of 91,980 cases and 4,349 hospitalizations.

The current seven-day average of 136.7 cases is skewed slightly by an influx of 292 new cases recorded yesterday (Sunday). That’s the highest single-day total since 397 cases came in on Feb. 13, but the Fairfax County Health Department confirmed to FFXnow that the sudden jump is the result of a reporting backlog, rather than an increase in infections.

Fairfax County COVID-19 cases over the past 180 days as of Oct. 18, 2021 (via Virginia Department of Health)

With the new school year now well underway, VDH launched a new dashboard today with data on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among children under 18 years of age, citing a rise in infections within that age group since the end of summer.

According to the dashboard, which will be updated every Friday, the Fairfax Health District reported the most COVID-19 cases among children in the Commonwealth between July 21 and Oct. 9 with 3,324 cases — a rate of 1,203 cases per 100,000 children. The only district with a lower case rate is Arlington.

Seven children have been hospitalized by the coronavirus in that time frame, and one died.

Virginia has seen 127,997 COVID-19 cases, 380 hospitalizations, and nine deaths among children since March 2020, according to VDH, which reiterated the importance of vaccinations in its news release.

“While children under 12 years are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, VDH recommends that everyone 12 years and older be fully vaccinated to help protect against COVID-19,” the department said. “Widespread vaccination of eligible Virginians can protect all children, especially those who are still too young to be vaccinated.”

In the Fairfax Health District, 820,987 people — or 69.4% of the population — have gotten at least one vaccine dose, including 82% of people 18 and older and 84.5% of people aged 12-17. 751,471 people — 75.3% of adults and 63.5% of all residents — are fully vaccinated.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could potentially become available to children younger than 12 next month, with a Food and Drug Administration panel scheduled to consider authorizing the shots on Oct. 26.

While not expected to issue a recommendation until early November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave states guidance last week for how to expand their vaccination programs, and state health officials can start placing advance supply orders this Wednesday (Oct. 20).

Photo via CDC/Unsplash

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