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Fairfax Virus Cases Soar Past 1,500; Now 24 Long-Term Care Outbreaks

Coronavirus cases in the Fairfax Health District surpassed 1,600 on Saturday, as the Virginia Department of Health announced 158 new positive cases, the second largest day-over-day increase so far.

There are now 1,636 cases of Covid-19 reported in the Fairfax district, which includes the City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, Fairfax County at its towns, linked to a total of 43 deaths, a rise in six fatalities from Friday.

It took 20 days from its first reported presumptive positive case for the Fairfax Health District to reach 100 Covid-19 cases. Just 11 days after that, the total surpassed 500.

Now, 11 days after cases topped 500, Fairfax has surpassed 1,600.

On Saturday, the VDH reported another five outbreaks of the virus at long-term care centers in Fairfax, five more facilities than Friday and 32 percent of all long-term care outbreaks in the state. According the VDH data, Virginia has a total of 74 outbreaks in long-term care settings, including 733 cases and 41 deaths.

On Thursday, the News-Press confirmed that three Falls Church area elder care facilities — Chesterbrook Residences, The Kensington and Sunrise of Falls Church — have reported outbreaks of Covid-19.

At least 7,000 people living or connected to nursing homes in the United States have died of the coronavirus, according to a New York Times report, and one-fifth of all U.S. virus deaths are linked to long-term care facilities.

At a Friday press conference, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced he was expanding testing to people about to be admitted to congregate settings like long-term care facilities, including all residents and staff.

The governor also signed a new executive order easing restrictions expand the state’s health care workforce. Executive order 57 expands on a previous order and now allows hospital, nursing and other health facilities to have out-of-state doctors and licensees provide care in Virginia and eases other restrictions on nurse practitioners.

Northam said Virginia has not yet met the 14-day downward trend to begin the first phase of the White House’s plan for scaling back social distancing measures.

On Wednesday, Northam announced a two-week extension of his executive order issued last month closing most non-essential businesses and banning gatherings of more than 10 people. The order, originally to expire on April 23, will now last until May 8 and keeps closed all recreation, entertainment and personal care businesses, like barbershops and salons, and limits restaurants to takeout and delivery service only.

Virginia reported another 562 cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, bringing the state total to 8,053. There are now 258 deaths linked to the virus in the commonwealth.