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The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported Friday the following COVID numbers on their Daily Dashboard:

    • New “reported” cases: 1,180
    • COVID-confirmed hospitalizations: 702
    • COVID-pending hospitalizations: 310
    • COVID-confirmed and -pending intensive care unit (ICU) patients: 233
    • COVID-confirmed and -pending patients on ventilators: 113
    • COVID confirmed and probable patients in intensive care units (ICU): 233

Cases reported are different from cases listed by onset date – “reported” cases represent cases that can be gathered over an expansive time horizon – reaching back months.

Cases by onset date peaked on May 28 at 1,337, then that climax was eclipsed on August 24 when the state logged 1,346 cases.

Total tests administered is 2,662,896, of which 5.7% have returned positive.

Total polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests given equals 2,472,061, with a 5.0% positive test rate. PCR tests are hailed as the gold standard in testing although their sensitivity has made them susceptible to picking up non-viable COVID fragments (meaning the patient is neither infected, nor infectious).

Antigen tests, such as the BinaxNOW kit the federal government is supplying to states under an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. These tests can detect non-viable COVID as well as bacterial infections and other viruses.

The FDA requires the tests to be administered within seven days of onset, for the test to be processed within an hour of collection and for accompaniment to go along with the test.

The current Virginia hospital capacity is as follows:

Current ICU utilization in Virginia is 233 beds.  Across the state, 47% of total ICU capacity remains – including surge units.

Hospital utilization for both confirmed cases (707) and pending cases (310) is 1,102 beds out of a total of 18,087 licensed hospital beds in the state – COVID utilization of 5.6%.

The state has 2,728 ventilators and 616 of them are currently in use – 77% of the statewide capacity remains. COVID patients currently use 4.1% of the available machines.

Hospitalizations peaked back in May when the seven-day average hit 1,573.

_   _   _

Jack Windsor is Managing Editor and an Investigative Reporter at The Ohio Star. Windsor is also an Investigative Reporter at The Virginia Star and at WMFD-TV. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]. 









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Fewer Americans sign contracts to buy homes in October

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes fell for the second consecutive month as lack of available homes continues to stifle house hunters.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its index of pending sales fell 1.1%, to 128.9 in October, down from a reading of 130.3 in September. An index of 100 represents the level of contract activity in 2001.

Thanks to a red-hot summer, contract signings are still 20.2% ahead of where they were last year after lagging in spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. Contract signings are a barometer of finalized purchases over the next two months.

Three out of four regions saw declines in contract signings, with only the South logging a small gain.

Historically low interest rates are drawing prospective buyers into the market, but home prices have risen significantly the past year as supply remains near all-time lows.

Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac reported last week that the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate home loan remained at a record low 2.72%.

The median price for an existing single-family home reached $313,000 in October up almost 16% from October 2019. The median price of a new home sold in October was $330,600, according to the Commerce Department.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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