Southwest Virginia hospitals back to square one amid surging COVID cases


(WFXR) — Hospitals around the Commonwealth and around the country are struggling with yet another surge as COVID-19 cases ramp up.

On Thursday, Dec. 23, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported its fourth highest single-day COVID-19 case spike of the entire pandemic with 6,473 new cases, along with 132 new virus-related hospitalizations and 33 new virus-related deaths.

The rise in cases has led to issues like longer wait times and a lack of beds at hospitals.

Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Amit Vashist of Ballad Health — which has several hospitals in southwest Virginia — says he is also concerned about the flu cases that are surging at the same time as the coronavirus.

“If your loved ones or family include vulnerable individuals, maybe folks who are on the older side, greater than 65 years of age, or immunocompromised, please strongly consider getting yourself rapidly tested to make sure you are negative for COVID-19,” said Vashist.

Vashist says the best way to fight the coronavirus9 is to get fully vaccinated.

He adds if you’ve had your first two doses of the vaccine, he recommends getting the booster shot to protect yourself against the omicron variant as much as possible.

In addition, according to Vashist, getting three shots may become the requirement to be fully-vaccinated in the near future.

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