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Local cases of COVID-19 increase to 70

The Western Tidewater Health District now reports 70 cases of COVID-19.

There are 35 in Suffolk, 24 in Isle of Wight County, six in Franklin and five in Southampton County. The district’s count is up four from Thursday’s report, and all four of those cases were reported in Suffolk.

After taking some large jumps last weekend, the district’s case reports have somewhat slowed this week. Friday’s case count was two-and-a-half times that of last Friday’s. Last Friday’s 28 cases, however, was a sevenfold increase from the prior Friday, so this week’s smaller pace is an encouraging trend.

Dr. Todd Wagner, director of the Western Tidewater Health District, said he is hopeful the small number of additional positive cases this week is attributable to people’s actions.

“The last couple of days have been a bit smaller in number of positive case counts,” Wagner stated in a Friday afternoon email. “I am hopeful that is attributable to the social distancing measure and stay at home policies that are currently in place, but we will have to continue to monitor the situation longitudinally, as I really don’t have a large enough timeline to identify a trend.”

Wagner said two deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the district.

Statewide, the Virginia Department of Health reports 35,459 people tested, with 4,509 positive cases. There have been 121 deaths.

The Virginia Healthcare and Hospital Administration reports 717 hospitalized patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, with 521 hospitalized with test results pending.

There are 457 confirmed and pending patients in the ICU, and 287 are on a ventilator.

There are 686 total ventilators in use at hospitals for both coronavirus patients and other patients — about 25 percent of the ventilators on hand.