Novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

An electron microscope image from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, shot in February 2020, shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (in orange) emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the laboratory. The virus causes the COVID-19 disease. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S.

The Virginia Department of Health reported Wednesday that the state has 40,249 COVID-19 cases, an increase of 907 from the 39,342 reported Tuesday.

The 40,249 cases include 38,276 confirmed cases and 1,973 probable cases. Also, there are 1,281 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia—1,202 confirmed and 79 probable. That’s an increase of 45 from the 1,236 reported Tuesday.

VDH said there are 330 outbreaks in the state, 192 in long-term care facilities. These facilities also account for 731 of the state’s 1,281 deaths attributed to the virus.

In recent days, Virginia has reported record-high COVID-19 case numbers.

In the greater Culpeper area, on Wednesday the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District reported 1,089 COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths and 74 hospitalizations.

The breakdown of cases by the district’s five localities was: Culpeper, 645; Fauquier, 302; Madison, 38; Orange, 91; and Rappahannock, 13.

Culpeper has been a hot spot for some time, with more COVID-19 cases per capita than Fairfax County.

As of Wednesday evening, Culpeper County had 1,278 cases per 100,000 people, The New York Times reports.

That’s greater than Fairfax County with 881 cases per 100,000 (with 10,069 cases) or Prince William County with 1,111 cases per 100,000 (with 5,074 cases), the Times said.

Culpeper’s two-week rate of new cases has been rising, the newspaper’s charting showed.

Fairfax County, the state’s most populous locality with more than 1.1 million people, has the most cases with 10,069 and 364 deaths.

The Virginia Department of Health defines a probable COVID-19 case as a person who is symptomatic with a known exposure to COVID-19, but who has not been confirmed with a positive test.

VDH data shows most state cases (80%) are occurring in working-age adults between the ages of 20 and 69, with people in their 40s accounting for the largest percentage of cases (18.6%). The majority of deaths (76.7%) are among Virginians over the age of 70.

State health officials have said reporting of statewide numbers lags behind on the VDH website. Figures on the website might not include cases or deaths reported by localities or local health districts.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginians over age 10 will need to wear face coverings when out in public, starting Friday.

The only exceptions to his order are people whose health conditions keep them from doing so, those who have trouble breathing or can’t remove a mask without help, and people who are eating, drinking or exercising.

Public-health officials have stressed the need for masks because many people may have the novel coronavirus and not have symptoms. That scenario may have contributed to an outbreak among health district staff in the Fredericksburg area, which resulted in 10 positive cases among workers and 21 others being quarantined.

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