Facebook Live 5/8- Answers

Happy Friday everyone! Tonight we’ll be celebrating my daughter’s graduation from W&L Law School, and my heart goes out to all the other graduates who didn’t get to enjoy the normal festivities for their hard work. Often, these unusual circumstances lead to interesting stories for the future, so hopefully one day this will be seen as a badge of honor.

Update on Virginia Department of Health Data:

We need to be looking at the data that shows the percent of patients who are positive. That is how we are going to measure if there is a 14 day decrease in new cases. Looking at raw numbers, the number of patients who are positive will reflect the number of tests done. We are constantly doing more tests, so we need to see what the trend is for percent positive. The curve for Virginia is on a downward trend for the last 14+ days.

As of 4/24/20, the percent positive cases has been trending downward, which is a requirement for the federal government to begin phase 1.

The second component, under Key Measures and COVID cases, the death rate is on a downward trend since April 21st. We have met our criteria, it’s time to move to phase 1. We need some more information from the state, as to how we are going to test and who we are going to test. However, we are tracking hospital capacity, and we expect we’ll continue having adequate capacity for the rest of the COVID cases that we will see. We have also met the criteria for starting to open Virginia back up.

I advocate based on principle, including our constitutional freedoms. I accept a temporary suspension of those freedoms in order to curb this pandemic. But now we’ve reached a point where we can start opening up, so we have to begin dialing back from the circumstances set up by the government and the state.

Update on the Nurse Needing Convalescent Plasma:

Many of you requested I reach out and try to help. That nurse has been sent from the hospital this week. He received the plasma he needed, and it’s amazing that he’s been sent home.

Update on Contact Tracing:

There have been a lot of questions on this. The way this works is if someone were to come in and test positive, then that person’s near associates are then tested and tracked. This way, we can find people who are positive early on, even if they may be asymptomatic, which will decrease the likelihood that they will unknowingly contaminate others. That’s how contact tracing works. It’s done by phone, and we’ve been working with the locality to connect able bodied healthcare providers who don’t have work now to help out. They can use their expertise to contact trace. As long as the vulnerable and at-risk populations stay secluded, the risk of transmitting amongst healthy individuals is far less.

Those in vulnerable groups include those who are 70 and older, and in many cases those who are between 60 and 70.

Question 1:

Now that we’ve been staying at home all this time, where are the new cases coming from? Answer:

Cases are only noticed now when people are coming in with symptoms that usually require hospitalization. We know that 66% of deaths from COVID have happened in the 70+ age group, and 57% of deaths are from community living centers, such as nursing homes. We know that there are hotspots, and there are still people who are getting sick in those locations. Not everyone is staying home, so some people are still getting sick.

This is a highly contagious virus, it is 5x more contagious than the flu. People are going to be getting it for a long time. Until we have a vaccine, many of us may still get it. As we measure the general population, we’re going to learn that many more people had it, they just didn’t show symptoms.

Of all the tests we do, only about 20% come back positive in the symptomatic population. Now, that number is about 16%, or even 12% in some instances. We think the numbers continue to rise, but when we correct for the number of testing, the percent positive should decrease.

Question 2:

Do we know if these numbers are coming from grocery stores, food packing/delivery, or are they diagnosing people using less strict guidelines?


We don’t know anything about grocery stores, we don’t know anything about food packing, but there is a decrease in strictness of testing requirements and people who are asymptomatic are now being tested.

We’ll learn more about how people are getting this when we do contact tracing.

Question 3:

For how many days has there been a downward trend of percent positive tests to tests given?


14 days, exactly where we should be. From the VDH key measures, it shows that the peak was roughly 3 weeks ago.

Question 4:

Why isn’t there more information about the role of vitamin D in supporting healthy immune systems?

Answer: I don’t know, I don’t know why some things are being covered and others aren’t. Vitamin D is something you should be tested for by your primary care physician.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!