The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke area doubled over the past week.
The director of the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District reported 107 new cases over the past week. There were just 52 new cases the week before. Doctor Cynthia Morrow said the number of district residents hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19 also rose from four to ten.
"These numbers are much better than we were seeing a few weeks ago and certainly than we were seeing during our peak in January, but the fact that we’ve gone backward instead of forward is concerning," Morrow said during a biweekly news conference. "And it’s just a reminder to us that COVID is still in our community."
Five additional deaths were recorded in the past two weeks, bringing the district's total to 499.
Morrow said the data is evidence that more people need to get vaccinated. Most of the localities in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District lag behind the state averages for vaccinations. Only about a third of the population in Roanoke City, Covington, Alleghany County, Craig County and Botetourt County are fully vaccinated. Botetourt County and Salem both report more than 40% of the population fully vaxxed. Roanoke County leads the district with 47% fully vaccinated. That's just above the statewide average of 46%.
Morrow cautioned that if you don’t get vaccinated, you should still be wearing a mask in most situations.