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Roanoke-area Health Director "Disturbed" By Weekly COVID-19 Numbers

Doctor Cynthia Morrow was blunt when she began a weekly news conference. "I was disturbed to pull our weekly numbers," she said. After weeks of watching the number of new cases and hospitalizations steadily rise, Morrow said those metrics are now hitting the highs seen during last winter's surge.

Morrow reported 1,172 new COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District over the past week, up from 957 the previous week. Ninety-three district residents were hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19 as of Monday, up from 70 the Monday before. Morrow said many of those infections and hospitalizations are preventable because the patients were not fully vaccinated. "To know that our community members are hurting and we have power to do something about it is challenging."

RCAHD 9.21 Cropped
Virginia Department of Health
A graph of COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District across the span of the pandemic.

Morrow advised anyone who is eligible to get fully vaccinated. She also recommended greater implementation of masking and social distancing, especially indoors. "Our rates are so high that you should assume that when you’re out and about in public in an indoor space that there is some virus circulating," Morrow warned.

Four additional deaths were added to the district's tally in the past week, bringing the total to 538.