COVID-19 cases, deaths on rise in city

Published 9:27 pm Monday, May 25, 2020

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Suffolk leads the Hampton Roads and Western Tidewater regions in an area it would rather not — the number of deaths due to COVID-19.

With the Virginia Department of Health reporting that six city residents had died over the weekend, 31 Suffolk residents have died from COVID-19, with 300 residents having tested positive for the virus as of Monday.

Broken down by month, Suffolk’s first positive COVID-19 case was reported to the state health department March 21, and the city had just four cases at the end of March. By the end of April, the city had seen 169 total positive COVID-19 cases.

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In the Western Tidewater Health District, there have been 607 positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the state health department, of which 372 are associated with the seven outbreaks across the district. An outbreak is defined as facilities or locations that have seen at least two positive COVID-19 cases. Thirty-five healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the state health department.

Besides Suffolk, Southampton County has had 143 cases and two deaths, Isle of Wight County 125 cases and three deaths, and there have been 39 cases and one death in Franklin.

Across the Western Tidewater region, 19 of the 37 deaths have occurred in people at least 80 years old, with another 12 in the 70-79 age range. Four people in the 60-69 age range have died, and one person age 40-49 and another age 50-59 have died.

Of the 36 deaths reported by race in the health district, 18 have been white and 16 have been black or African-American. Of the health district’s cases reported by race to the state health department, 238, or 56.1 percent, have been black or African-American, while 128, or 37.3 percent, have been white. The state health department does not have race data for 183 people in the district who have tested positive for COVID-19.

In Western Tidewater, all age ranges that the state health department tracks have seen positive COVID-19 cases, with the most, 127, coming from the 80-plus group. That total represents 21 percent of the positive cases reported.

Across the state, 37,727 people have tested positive for COVID-19, with 4,269 hospitalizations and 1,208 deaths, according to the state health department. Across the country, nearly 98,000 people have died of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Monday, while more than 1.6 million people have tested positive for the virus.

All of the city’s deaths have come in the past month-and-a-half, as the first person to die from COVID-19 in the city was reported to the state health department on April 12. At that point, the city had 48 positive COVID-19 cases.

Across the Western Tidewater region, 4,785 people have been tested for COVID-19, with a 7-day positivity rate of 6.3 percent.

Positive COVID-19 Cases totals across region (cases per 100,000)

  • Virginia Beach 618 (137)
  • Chesapeake 449 (185)
  • Norfolk 432 (177)
  • Suffolk 300 (329)
  • Portsmouth 272
  • Southampton County 143 (813)
  • Isle of Wight County 125 (338)
  • Franklin 39 (487)

COVID-19 Deaths (deaths per 100,000)

  • Suffolk 31 (34.0)
  • Virginia Beach 20 (4.4)
  • Chesapeake 14 (5.8)
  • Portsmouth 11 (11.6)
  • Norfolk 6 (2.5)
  • Isle of Wight 3 (8.1)
  • Southampton 2 (11.4)
  • Franklin 1 (12.5)