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COVID-19 cases decline in Fairfax County as options for booster shots expand

An illustration of a coronavirus (via CDC/Unsplash)

Fairfax County’s COVID-19 case levels haven’t entirely come down from the late-summer Delta variant surge, but they appear to be headed in that direction.

The Fairfax Health District, including the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, added 72 cases today (Monday) for a total of 92,739 cases over the course of the pandemic. 4,360 residents have been hospitalized by the novel coronavirus, and 1,209 people have died, including eight people in the past week.

The county is now averaging 107.4 cases per day for the past week — just over half of what it was seeing at the height of the Delta surge on Sept. 16, when the weekly average was at 204.6 cases, according to Virginia Department of Health data.

Fairfax County COVID-19 cases over the past 180 days as of Oct. 25, 2021 (via Virginia Department of Health)

While COVID-19 transmission has declined, Fairfax County has seen an uptick in vaccine demand that roughly coincides with the expansion of eligibility for booster shots at the end of September.

Since third doses of the Pfizer vaccine became more widely available on Sept. 28, the number of doses given to Fairfax Health District residents has increased from around 1.5 million to more than 1.6 million today, according to the Fairfax County Health Department.

The district took almost twice as long to get through the previous 100,000 shots, hitting 1.4 million doses administered on July 4 and not exceeding 1.5 million until Aug. 31.

A chart showing the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses given to Fairfax Health District residents as of Oct. 25, 2021 (via Fairfax County Health Department)

Roughly 78,000 individuals have gotten a booster shot so far. That number is expected to increase now that additional doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been authorized, FCHD spokesperson Lucy Caldwell says.

Updated on Thursday (Oct. 21), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s booster shot guidelines recommend the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for people 65 and older, long-term care residents, and adults who face a higher risk of infection due to an underlying medical condition or where they live or work.

The CDC also recommends that anyone 18 and older who received the J&J vaccine at least two months ago get a booster dose. People who get a booster can choose from any of the three available vaccines, not just the one that they originally received.

“If you decide to get a booster dose by mixing and matching, VDH urges you to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider who can assist you in making the best decision for your own situation,” Virginia State Vaccine Liaison Dr. Danny Avula said in a statement. “We also stress that all three vaccines authorized for administration in the United States are highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death.”

824,722 Fairfax Health District residents — 69.7% of the population, including 82.4% of people 18 and older — have gotten at least one vaccine dose.

752,274 residents — 75.6% of adults and 63.7% of all residents — are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve gotten at least two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a shot of the J&J vaccine.

Appointments for any of the vaccines can be found through vaccines.gov. The FCHD is providing assistance with scheduling from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays through its COVID-19 Call Center at 703-324-7404.

Photo via CDC/Unsplash

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