Roanoke-area COVID-19 cases at lowest level since last summer
COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke area have dropped to levels not seen since last summer.
The Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District reported 382 new cases over the past week, down from nearly 650 the week before. "We haven’t seen case counts this low since last summer, so that’s great news," Dr. Cynthia Morrow said in a call with reporters Tuesday. Morrow is director of the health district. "In addition, our hospitalization rates are much lower as well. So the big picture here is, as predicted, the situation continues to get much better."
Hospitalizations are down dramatically, as well. Just 35 district residents were hospitalized as of Monday morning, down from 57 the previous Monday.
Morrow said she’s optimistic the trend will continue, but adds we should have some humility about the potential for change. "While we can relax our mitigation strategies today, we need to be open and realistic to the fact that this may change again if another variant that is more virulent arises."
The number of deaths connected to COVID-19 continues to tick upward, however. The district recorded 20 additional deaths over the past week, bringing its total to 915. More than 60,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the district since the start of the pandemic. The district covers Roanoke, Craig, Botetourt and Alleghany counties, as well as the cities of Roanoke, Salem and Covington.
Morrow said there have not been any significant spikes in school-related cases as masks become optional. But she also noted that individual school-related cases are not being tracked as closely by the school divisions and the health department.