Fairfax County sees dip in COVID-19 cases over Labor Day weekend

An illustration of a coronavirus (via CDC/Unsplash)

The Delta variant-fueled rise in coronavirus cases that roiled Fairfax County during the latter half of the summer appears to have eased a little over the first week of September.

With 135 new cases reported today (Tuesday), the Fairfax Health District, including the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church has recorded a total of 85,151 COVID-19 cases, 4,262 hospitalizations, and 1,167 deaths.

The county is now averaging 158.4 new cases per day over the past week, down from the weekly average of 183.9 cases on Aug. 30 that has so far represented the summer’s peak. That is shy of the high mark for the spring, when the county averaged 195.1 cases on April 13.

Fairfax County COVID-19 cases over the past 180 days as of Sept. 7, 2021 (via Virginia Department of Health)

That slight decline in cases has been enough to bring Fairfax County back down to a substantial level of community spread after entering the “high” category at the end of August.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Virginia Department of Health determine the level of COVID-19 community transmission within a locality based on the number of new cases per 100,000 people and the percentage of positive tests over the past week.

Fairfax County recorded 98.4 new cases per 100,000 people for the week of Aug. 29 to Sept. 4, dropping below the 100-case threshold for “high” transmission. 4.3% of administered tests came back positive for COVID-19 in that time frame.

Fairfax County COVID-19 levels of transmission as of Sept. 4, 2021 (via Virginia Department of Health)

However, Fairfax County also saw fewer people seek out a COVID-19 vaccination in the past week — perhaps a product of residents leaving town for Labor Day weekend.

According to the Fairfax County Health Department’s dashboard, 791,935 Fairfax Health District residents have received at least one vaccine dose. That constitutes 79.1% of residents 18 and older and 66.9% of the total population.

However, it’s just 4,527 more people than Aug. 30, when more than 6,000 additional people had gotten their first shot in the preceding week.

717,743 residents — 60.6% of the district’s population — are now fully vaccinated, including 72.1% of all adults.

The need to get the remaining 30% of adults vaccinated will become increasingly urgent as the weather starts to cool, pushing activities like dining and exercise back indoors.

The CDC is currently projecting Virginia to surpass 25,000 COVID-19 cases per week by the end of the month. The Commonwealth totaled 21,693 cases over the week of Sept. 1.

The Fairfax County Health Department says community members should remain vigilant in following not only COVID protocols, such as wearing a mask indoors and getting vaccinated for those who haven’t done so already, but also more general health guidelines.

“As the weather cools, and people are typically inside more often, it is even more important to adhere to commonsense health and wellness strategies such as getting enough rest, a balanced diet, and regular exercise,” the department said in a statement. “This is also the time of year when everyone should investigate getting their flu shots — either from their medical provider, pharmacy or community clinics.”

Photo via CDC/Unsplash

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