While the expansion of vaccine eligibility has gotten much of the attention this week, health officials are still waiting to see if a post-holiday surge of cases and hospitalizations starts to let up.
The Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District reported 871 active COVID-19 cases Tuesday. That’s higher than the previous week's total of 719, but down significantly from late December when it was nearly 3,000.
Doctor Cynthia Morrow said hospitalizations have been steady for the last couple of weeks. Ninety-three residents of thea health district were hospitalized as of Monday. Ninety-one were hospitalized the previous week.
"It appears that we are at a fairly stable, but very elevated level of activity. I’m hopeful that in the next few weeks we’ll start to actually see a decline that is meaningful," Morrow said during a weekly conference call with reporters.
Nineteen additional deaths have been added in the past week, bringing the district's total to 257. The number of outbreaks grew as well to 26. Morrow said the outbreaks are predominantly in long term care facilities.
Morrow said there has been extraordinary demand for vaccine in the district. Southwest Virginia, along with parts of northern Virginia moved into Phase 1B on Monday. Morrow said it's been a challenging 48 hours. Clinics this week are still focused on health care workers and first responders. She’s asking for caution, patience and flexibility as more vaccine becomes available in the next few weeks.