COVID-19 cases slightly up in Fairfax County, but hospitalizations decline

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Your perception of the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Fairfax County might vary depending on which data dashboard you’re looking at.

For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies the county’s COVID-19 community level as “low” based on the hospitalization metrics that the federal agency has used since February.

An estimated 17 Fairfax County residents were admitted into a hospital with COVID-19 over the past seven days, a 3.2% decline from the previous week, according to the CDC. That amounts to 1.5 new patients per 100,000 residents, and 1.1% of staffed inpatient beds are being used by confirmed COVID-19 patients.

However, the CDC’s community transmission dashboard, which uses the number of new cases per 100,000 people and testing positivity rate, still rates the level of spread in the county as “substantial.”

The Virginia Department of Health’s cases dashboard indicates that the Fairfax Health District, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, reported 83 new cases today (Monday), putting its current seven-day average at 113.9 daily cases. Recently, the county’s dashboard stopped reporting the number of new daily cases, favoring the 7-day average number of daily cases.

The weekly average has climbed slightly over the past couple of weeks. The 77 cases averaged on March 22 had been the district’s lowest rate since July 31, 2021. The all-time highest average was 2,590 cases on Jan. 13.

Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases over the past 26 weeks, as of April 4, 2022 (via VDH)
All Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases, as of April 4, 2022 (via VDH)

The Fairfax County Health Department’s dashboard, however, says, on average, there have been 163 new cases reported per day for the past week.

An FCHD spokesperson confirmed that the discrepancy between the county and state data stems from the former tracking total new cases, while the latter has been using net new cases, which subtracts any past cases that turned out to be duplicates or actually occurred in a different locality.

Overall, the Fairfax Health District has recorded 180,216 COVID-19 cases, 4,446 hospitalizations, and 1,490 deaths during the pandemic.

While federal funding for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations has officially run out, Fairfax County will still provide those services for free to people without insurance, the county health department says.

Free testing concluded in March, and free vaccinations are set to end tomorrow (Tuesday), though Congress is negotiating a new funding deal.

“At this time, the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) will continue to provide vaccinations for all at no charge at county-operated clinics, including pop-up clinics, held throughout the community,” FCHD said. “The Health Department will continue to work with the state to determine the future impact on these programs.”

The federal government is still offering four free at-home tests at no charge, and the county operates mobile clinics that provide free testing. FCHD advises residents to call pharmacies and other private providers in advance to see whether they are charging for tests.

Vaccination rates in the district have not substantially changed since last week. Per the FCHD, 966,773 residents, or 81.6% of the population, have received at least one dose, including:

  • 90.7% of people aged 18 and older
  • 96.9% of 16-17 year olds
  • 92.7% of 12-15 year olds
  • 53.3% of 5-11 year olds

874,858 residents, or 73.8%, are fully vaccinated, including 82.5% of adults.

According to the VDH, 482,472 Fairfax County residents — 41.9% of the population — have gotten a booster or third dose, including 51.2% of adults and 32.9% of adolescents aged 12-17.

Certain residents who are aged 50 and older, have only received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or are immunocompromised are now eligible to get a second booster shot if at least four months have passed since their first booster.