RRICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia authorities are reporting more than 560 new cases of COVID-19, the largest one-day increase so far in the coronavirus pandemic.
The numbers released Saturday by the Virginia Department of Health now show more than 5,000 positive tests for the coronavirus in the state.
The death count has increased from 121 to 130.
The increase in cases is in part a function of increased testing.
But state and federal authorities have expressed concern that the D.C. metropolitan area could become a national hotspot for COVID-19 cases.
That includes the northern Virginia suburbs, which account for more than 40 percent of state cases.
The number of COVID-19 cases associated with "distinct clusters" of local transmission of the virus continues to climb in the Commonwealth, according to Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data released Saturday.
Those clusters include accounted for 373 new cases of the virus Saturday, including 946 (+169 from Friday) cases in Fairfax County, 368 (+26) in Henrico County, 390(+53) in Prince William County, 349 (+37) in Arlington County, 296 (+22) in Loudon County, 236 (+12) in Virginia Beach, 203 (+24) in Chesterfield County, 188 (+14) Alexandria, 148 (+9) in Richmond, 126 (+1) in James City County and 115 (+6) in Chesapeake.
VDH data showed the coronavirus has most impacted people aged 50 to 69 since that group accounts for just under 37 percent of cases.
"But we're also seeing cases in people in their 20s," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam previoulsy said.
In fact, Northam said that group accounts for nearly 12 percent of cases in the state.
"There has been some talk, and I have seen activity around Virginia, that this only affects the elderly. Well, it doesn't. It affects all of us, "Northam said. "So take this seriously and please stay home."
Slightly more women have been infected by the virus at 2,569 cases versus the 2,452 cases reported in men. No gender was reported for 56 cases in the Commonwealth.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.