Roanoke health officials: Families may need to rethink holiday gatherings amid COVID spike in cases

Coronavirus

ROANOKE, Va., (WFXR) — As families gather for the holidays, they may need to be a bit more careful. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) says there have been almost 1,000 new coronavirus cases confirmed in the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts just in the last week.

Many people expected there to be an increase in cases during the holiday season due to families gathering for Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

“It is challenging. It’s frustrating. We are all so tired of this,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts.

Dr. Morrow knows people are exhausted with the pandemic, but she says that is all the more reason to not let your guard down during a time when families love to gather.

“The numbers don’t lie, and this pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on beloved members of our community,” said Dr. Morrow

According to the VDH, there have been more 700 virus-related deaths in the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts since the pandemic started. That number is still going up.

The VDH urges the community to take precautions, including getting a coronavirus vaccine.

“These vaccines, while imperfect, are our best tool to prevent serious outcomes associated with COVID-19,” said Dr. Morrow

With Christmas just over a week away, Roanoke resident Sarah Gibbs says he will be careful with whom she gathers amid the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We are only gathering with people that are fully vaccinated,” said Gibbs

Gibbs feels this is the best way to protect her young children, even if it means avoiding unvaccinated family members.

“I feel like they understand because I have little kids and I don’t want people to get it,” said Gibbs. “You can still get it — even with the vaccine. And the long-term COVID is really serious, and we just want to be extra safe.”

The VDH recommends having a plan in place if you’re going to gather. This may include having uncomfortable conversations with family members regarding their vaccination status.

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