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As COVID-19 Vaccine Increases, Health Director Says Get Registered

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

The health district that serves the Roanoke region will get about 8,000 doses of the newly approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine later this week.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District, said that new supply, along with increased doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, have allowed the district to open up vaccination to all tiers of the Phase 1B group and plan for the future.  "Because we have an increased vaccine supply coming into our community now and into the future, it is critically important that anyone who is in Phase 1A, Phase 1B or Phase 1C pre-register so that we can know about you and allow you to access the opportunities to get vaccinated," Morrow said in a weekly conference call with reporters.

You can register through the state's online portal or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA.

Morrow says the district will announce a new vaccination effort with Carilion Clinic in the coming days.

New Cases, Hospitalizations Continue To Fall, But Are Slowing Down

The number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Roanoke region continued to fall over the past week.  But the area’s health director worries the declines are slowing down.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow said the region logged about 350 new cases over the past week, compared to about 400 the week before.  While any drop in new cases is welcome, Morrow said, the decline is not as big as previous weeks. "This just really causes me to be concerned that we’re not doing as well as we should be with community mitigation strategies," Morrow said Tuesday.  "So it is critically important now more than ever for us to continue our community mitigation strategies to reduce that number even faster."

Twenty residents were hospitalized for COVID-19-related complications, according to Morrow.  That's down from 32 the week before.  The number of active outbreaks also declined from 12 last week to 8 this week.

The number of deaths related to COVID-19 has been spiking, however.  The Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District recorded 52 additional deaths over the past week, bringing the district's total to 390.   Morrow said many of the deaths actually occurred in December or January and that the increase is largely due to reporting delays.

David Seidel is Radio IQ's News Director.