Roanoke area hospitals come together to urge public’s vigilance as coronavirus pandemic continues


(Photo: Courtesy Carilion Clinic)

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The same day local public health officials reported the highest number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations since March, a group of local health system leaders say the public should continue to be vigilant.

Dr. Patrice Weiss, medical officer at Carilion Clinic; Dr. Carnell Cooper, chief medical officer at LewisGale Regional Health System; and Dr. Thomas Martin, acting chief of staff at the Salem VA Health Care System, released the following statement:

“Our region has seen a rise in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 over the last few weeks. We need your help to keep our families, friends and neighbors safe and healthy.

“As our Virginia Department of Health colleagues have mentioned, we saw 26 outbreaks of COVID-19 last week in the Roanoke and Alleghany Health District. Parts of southwest Virginia continue to experience a high rate of transmission of the virus.

“Now is not the time to let our guard down. We must remain vigilant. If we don’t, the virus will take advantage of our weariness.

“From the very beginning, our health systems have been coordinating and collaborating to ensure the healthcare resources our community needs are available. Those efforts continue and we have capacity in our hospitals to handle those with acute cases of COVID-19. But with your help, we can reduce the number of patients who need that level of care.

“We can stop the spread, but it will take all of us working together.

“Wash your hands often. Watch your distance – Stay at least six feet apart. And wear your mask.”

Joint Covid-19 Message from Regional CMO’s

Dr. Cynthia B. Morrow joined Dr. Molly O’Dell for their weekly coronavirus briefing. The Roanoke and Alleghany health districts are reporting 3,748 cumulative cases — Alleghany has 1,794 with 52 active cases, Roanoke City has 1,915 with 24 active cases.

The districts are averaging about 45 new cases per day, bringing the burden and transmission levels down to a moderate level compared to last week.

The doctors note the most concerning data point is the cumulative 50 hospitalizations — the most in the area since March; 26 are in Roanoke City and 24 are in Alleghany. They add 23% of hospitalizations are among African Americans, while 15% are among the Latinx community. Which the doctors note shows the disparity of how the Coronavirus affects minorities.

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