COVID-19 Cases Still Rising In Roanoke Area
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke area continues to grow.
The director of the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District reported 957 new cases over the past week, up from 808 the week before. Doctor Cynthia Morrow says the cases are hitting a growing number of younger people. About 50% of the new cases are people under the age of 34 and 25% are under the age of 18.
In a weekly news conference, Morrow called the statistics disconcerting, though not unexpected. “The strong message here is if you’re eligible to get vaccinated, even if you’re young, you should get vaccinated,” she said.
The number of district residents hospitalized for COVID-19 complications also grew to 70, up from 64 the previous week. Thirteen additional deaths were added to the district's tally, bringing the total to 534. Morrow said some of the increase was the result of reconciliation of death records from months earlier, especially Virginia residents who died in other states.
Morrow said the health district was making plans to deploy third dose boosters of COVID-19 vaccine, if they are approved by federal regulators. The Food and Drug Administration could make a decision on the need for a booster dose at the end of this week. The Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health would also have to sign off.
Morrow said residents should not feel the need to rush out for a third shot, if a booster is approved. "It’s not going to be an emergency to get that third mRNA vaccine if you are interested in doing so," Morrow cautioned. "It may take us weeks or maybe even months to get that third dose to everyone who wants that booster shot."