The year 2021 has been difficult so far in terms of reported COVID-19 deaths in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District as virus fatalities showed spikes in January and continue to do so in February—but mostly due to health department data catching up.
Since Feb. 1, 2021, the five-county area spanning Culpeper, Fauquier, Orange, Madison and Rappahannock added 29 new deaths from COVID-19 as of Monday, Feb. 22.
In January of this year, the area reported nearly two dozen virus deaths.
Most of these are not recent deaths, said RRHD Health Director Dr. Wade Kartchner in correspondence on Monday.
The Central Office team reviewing death certificates are finding older investigations where COVID was listed as the cause or contributing factor of death and updating the investigation, he said.
“There are some newer COVID associated deaths among our residents that are also being found via death certificate review, but relatively few,” Kartchner said.
Culpeper and Fauquier continue to be hardest hit with 46 and 45 deaths respectively as of Monday, according to VDH.
In total across the health district since March of 2020, 122 local people have died from the novel coronavirus. Exactly half of those—61 individuals—were in their 80s while people in their 70s accounted for the second most deaths with 33 people, according to VDH data.
Various local nursing homes and assisted living facilities continue to experience virus outbreaks in progress including at The Culpeper retirement village, reporting 50 cases as of Monday, Feb. 22.
One local person aged 10 to 19 died of the virus as well, according to VDH.
Positive cases in the five-county area continue to decline since a peak in mid-January of seven-day new cases averaging in the 60s compared to the current seven-day average of 2.2 cases as of Monday, according to VDH.
COVID-19 vaccine rollout is happening daily in the health district. As of Feb. 22 in Culpeper County, 9,088 shots had been given, compared to 5,197 as of Feb. 1, 2021, according to VDH.