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Fairfax County’s Covid case decline nears pre-delta variant levels

There is still a mass COVID-19 vaccination site in the Fairfax County Government Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

About eight months after the delta variant revived face masks, Fairfax County’s COVID-19 case rate has dropped back into double digits.

With 53 new cases today (Monday), the Fairfax Health District, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, is now averaging 87 cases reported a day for the past week — its lowest seven-day average since Aug. 1, 2021, when it was seeing 86 cases per day.

Case levels have declined precipitously since peaking at a weekly average of 2,590 cases on Jan. 13. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still classifies community transmission levels as low based on its current hospitalization-focused metrics.

As of Friday (March 18), there had been 21 county residents newly admitted into a hospital with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. The county’s seven-day average of 1.9 per 100,000 residents represented a 35% drop from the previous week, according to CDC data.

In total, 4,440 Fairfax Health District residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 during the pandemic. There have been 178,716 cases and 1,476 deaths.

Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases over the past 26 weeks, as of March 21, 2022 (via VDH)
All Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases as of March 21, 2022 (via VDH)

With cases continuing to fall, demand for vaccinations has slowed to the point where the Virginia and Fairfax County health departments are preparing to close two mass vaccine sites at the end of this week, citing “a diminished need” for that approach.

Since the first supplies arrived in December 2020, more than 2.2 million vaccine doses have been administered in the Fairfax Health District. 965,319 residents — 81.6% of the population — have gotten at least one dose.

According to Fairfax County Health Department data, that includes:

  • 90.6% of people aged 18 and older
  • 96.8% of 16-17 year olds
  • 92.4% of 12-15 year olds
  • 52.7% of 5-11 year olds

Fairfax County’s vaccination rates for the 5-11 and 12-17 age groups (58.4% and 94%, respectively) are among the highest in the state, the Virginia Department of Health says.

In addition, 41.2% of county residents have gotten a booster shot or third dose, including 50.2% of adults and 32.2% of youth aged 12-17.

However, the future of Virginia’s vaccination campaign could become hazier, as federal health officials warn that funding for COVID-19 response efforts, including vaccines and tests, is running out — even as a highly transmissible omicron subvariant takes hold in the U.S.

Brought about after Congress eliminated a $15 billion coronavirus aid package from its budget bill last week, the White House says the funding collapse could affect everything from the availability of antibody treatments to vaccine and testing reimbursements for uninsured individuals.

The Virginia Department of Health says it’s not clear yet how the federal funding shortfall will affect the state’s vaccination program, but testing efforts are safe for now.

“VDH’s COVID testing programs are funded through a grant that will not be impacted by the federal government’s funding challenges,” the department’s central office said in a statement.

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