COVID-19 cases continue climbing in central, southwest Virginia


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – The United States is averaging more than 56,000 coronavirus cases every day — a 57 percent increase from last week. Hospitalizations are up 43 percent compared to last week. The constant increase in COVID-19 cases is a reason health experts are urging all who are eligible to get vaccinated.

According to Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD), “If anyone’s been on the fence, it’s time to get off that fence and get vaccinated.”

Locally, cases of COVID-19 have continued to increase throughout July. The RCAHD says the average number of cases has nearly tripled between July 20-27 compared to weekly reporting in May/June.

In the past week, the RCAHD has seen 230 new virus cases and eight new breakthrough cases (vaccinated individuals testing positive), which means 97 percent of the new cases are unvaccinated people.

“It’s always really hard when you can kind of see the writing on the wall and then it happens. We’ve been saying for weeks that we saw this coming. We’ve been pleading for people to protect themselves and to protect others,” Dr. Morrow said. “It’s not going to go away until people do what they need to do to protect themselves.”

Dr. Morrow says about 83 percent of the circulating coronavirus strain nationwide is attributed to the delta variant and we should assume the same has happened in our area.

“It’s an expensive and time-consuming test to get the whole genome sequencing,” the RCAHD director said, “and so it wouldn’t be appropriate for everybody to get tested for that and we can look at the national trends. We have no reason to believe we’re different from what’s happening across the country.”

“I personally have started wearing my mask again, proudly wearing my mask again, because I know that when I wear my mask even though I am fully vaccinated in the off chance that I were to get COVID and that chance is so much lower because I’m fully vaccinated I’m doing everything I can to protect the people around me,” Dr. Morrow added.

Meanwhile, the Market Director for LewisGale Regional Health System, Christopher Finley, released the following statement to WFXR News about coronavirus hospitalizations:

Our COVID in-patients remain relatively low. We continue to have the capacity to care for all patients, including those who need to be hospitalized for COVID. We are watching COVID trends closely and will evolve our emergency preparedness and surge plans to meet the needs of our community as needed.

Christopher Finley, Market Director, Marketing and Public Relations, LewisGale Regional Health System

Click here to view current COVID-19 information for Virginia.

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