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Virginia, Roanoke area mark grim milestones in COVID-19 pandemic

Virginia and the Roanoke area passed grim milestones in the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Wednesday, 15,025 Virginians have died from complications related to the virus, according to the state health department. The state also passed the one million case threshold earlier in the week.

The Roanoke region also passed its own grim milestone Wednesday. The Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District has now recorded more than 700 COVID-related deaths. "The numbers don’t lie," Dr. Cynthia Morrow told reporters Wednesday. "This pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on beloved members of our community."

RCAHD 12.15
Virginia Dept. of Health
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A graph of daily reported cases in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District

The district also saw 958 new cases over the past week. That number continues to grow week to week. The district saw 888 new cases the previous week. About 20% of the new cases are in people under the age of 18 and 50% are under the age of 35. Morrow noted that under 35 group has the lowest vaccination rate of any age group.

The number of district residents hospitalized for COVID-19 also grew from 74 to 87.
Morrow says about 70% of those patients are not vaccinated. The median age of a hospitalized patient is 64.5. Morrow said that's an indication of how effective the vaccines are at preventing hospitalization and death. Older age groups have much higher vaccination rates. "Given how many people in that older age group are vaccinated, that number would be much, much higher" if the vaccines were not effective Morrow said.

In a follow up email. Morrow said area school superintendents have reported a growing number of people avoiding testing when they are symptomatic because they want to avoid an isolation or quarantine period. "If this happens and peoplego to school/ work when infected,  this can contribute to the ongoing spread of COVID-19," she warned.

David Seidel is Radio IQ's News Director.