ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — On Tuesday, Dr. Cynthia Morrow — the director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts — shared the districts’ latest pandemic data, saying that “we can reasonably assume” that many of the newly-identified COVID-19 cases in the districts are because of the omicron variant.

This news comes after Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 4,437 new COVID-19 cases, 75 new virus-related hospitalizations, and 38 new virus-related deaths around the Commonwealth as of Tuesday, Dec. 21.

Of those numbers, the VDH says 117 new cases, one new hospitalization, and three new deaths are from the following localities within the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts:

  • Alleghany County: 13 new cases
  • Botetourt County: 17 new cases
  • Covington: One new case
  • Craig County: Five new cases
  • Roanoke City: 20 new cases and two new deaths
  • Roanoke County: 43 new cases, one new hospitalization, and one new death
  • Salem: 18 new cases

You can read the data released by the health districts on Tuesday below:

Dr. Morrow shared the following statement with WFXR News with regard to Tuesday’s data:

Please note that our high hospital numbers and our high number of people who continue to succumb to this virus are very concerning as they represent the most devastating impacts of COVID-19. Vaccination, including booster shots, remains the most important tool that we have to decrease hospitalizations and deaths associated with COVID-19. 

While our knowledge of Omicron continues to evolve as we collectively gather more information about this new variant, what we do know is that our community mitigation strategies (physical distancing, masking, washing hands) work against all variants. We do not have local data for Omicron so I have included information about Omicron in HHS Region 3 at the end. 

As we head into Christmas weekend, I strongly encourage all of our residents to do everything that they can to protect themselves and their loved ones. We all know what we need to do- please do what you can. The most important gift we have is our health.  

Please be well and stay safe.

Statement issued by Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, on Dec. 21, 2021

Meanwhile, the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts are offering COVID-19 vaccination opportunities in the coming weeks at various clinics, which are listed below:

To set up a vaccine appointment or to learn more about vaccination efforts within the health districts, click here.

The VDH’s free Community Vaccination Center is also open at the former Sears site at the Valley View Mall in Roanoke from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The center is ready to provide free Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines and boosters to adult visitors, as well as the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

The Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts say the VDH recommends Pfizer boosters for those 16 and older and Moderna boosters for those 18 and older as long as you received your initial shots at least six months ago. If you got the J&J vaccine, boosters are advised for those age 18 and older who were vaccinated at least two months ago.

People who qualify can schedule a booster dose appointment at their pharmacy or health department clinic by visiting the VDH vaccine website.