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Is Roanoke at the peak of a "muted surge" of COVID-19?

COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke area are trending down.

Doctor Cynthia Morrow, director the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District, said she’s optimistic we’ve hit the peak of this latest surge a little earlier than expected.

"The trends are in our favor," Morrow told reporters Tuesday. "And when I talk about trends, I’m looking at cases. I’m looking at influenza-like illness surveillance, looking at our wastewater surveillance, looking at our hospitalizations. And everything right now looks like it’s trending down."

The district is still logging about 600 new cases each week, but hospitalizations have remained low. 27 district residents were hospitalized for complications related to the virus as of Monday. 1,003 have died since the pandemic began. Most of the district's cities and counties have dropped out of the CDC's high transmission category.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that this has been a muted peak, a muted surge. But of course COVID has continued to surprise us every step of the way,” she said.

Morrow also noted that it’s still too early to tell how case numbers will be affected by Memorial Day travel and gatherings.

Virginia has been averaging 2,950 new cases each day over the past week. That's lower by a couple of hundred cases from the average in mid- to late-May. The testing positivity rate is still very high at 19%. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported 586 COVID-related hospitalizations Tuesday. That number has been holding steady since June 1.

David Seidel is Radio IQ's News Director.