RICHMOND, Va. -- If you follow the numbers closely, you may notice an uptick in Virginia's COVID-19 testing numbers in the coming days.
While factors like phased reopening, Memorial Day gatherings, and crowded protests may play a role in an increase of positive tests, the Virginia Department of Health has made the community aware of another factor that will result in the number of total test results going up.
“Starting on June 9, the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) COVID-19 data dashboard will reflect 13,000 additional tests that were backlogged,” a VDH spokesperson announced. “Over the next couple of days, this new information will be slowly added to the current data, which will result in an influx of results.”
The VDH explained that a Richmond-area lab had previously been faxing test results to the VDH.
Those results were then entered manually by VDH staff.
That created a backlog.
“VDH staff had prioritized positive test results, which means the remaining backlog largely includes negative tests,” the spokesperson continued. “The lab is now submitting test results electronically. This change alleviates by half the reporting backlog of test results. VDH continues to work to eliminate that backlog.”
More than 51,000 Virginians have tested positive for COVID-19 since testing began in March.
Virginia had been criticized for lagging behind the rest of the country in terms of testing for COVID-19.
As of June 8, more than 428,000 Virginians have been tested for COVID-19 or the antibodies.
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.