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COVID-19 hospitalizations rising again in Virginia, Roanoke region

COVID-19-related hospitalizations have been increasing in the Roanoke region and across Virginia.

Hospitalizations in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District are at the highest level since March, though still far below the levels seen in previous surges. The district reported 32 residents hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19 as of Monday, up from 21 the Monday before.

At a statewide level, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations has grown from 540 on June 19th to 701 today according to data from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. During the January omicron surge, that number topped 3,700.

COVID Hospitalizations 7.19
Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
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A graph of COVID-19 related hospitalizations in Virginia from December 2021 to today.

Doctor Cynthia Morrow says the overwhelming majority of today’s cases are being caused by the BA.5 omicron subvariant. "It does appear that our hospital stays are shorter. So we do think that this is a less virulent strain but it is certainly a very contagious strain," Morrow told reporters Tuesday.

The Roanoke area recorded 645 new cases over the past week. But Morrow says that’s just a small portion of the actual number because most at-home test results never get reported to the health department. "Now we continue to get the reports from doctors offices, from urgent cares, from pharmacies. But what we’re not getting are the at home tests," Morrow admitted. "We know that the 600+ cases that were reported to us over the past week are just a small portion."

Morrow said COVID-19 remains a particular threat to those who are compromised to the disease, either due to age or medical co-morbitities. The Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District has recorded 1,021 deaths related to COVID-19 so far.

Morrow encouraged those who are eligible for a vaccine booster to get the shot.

David Seidel is proud to lead the journalists at Radio IQ and WVTF as news director. David joined the newsroom in May 2017 and brings more than 20 years of experience in broadcast journalism in Virginia. Prior to joining Radio IQ David was an assistant news director, assignment manager and producer at WDBJ Television in Roanoke. He also worked as a reporter for WHSV Television in Harrisonburg. David graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington with degrees in journalism and history.