Health officials in the Roanoke region are seeing some bright spots in their effort to control the spread of COVID-19.
Doctor Molly O’Dell, with the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District, says new cases are starting to drop off slightly compared with the previous few weeks.
There were 223 active cases of COVID-19 in the district as of Tuesday morning. That’s down from 264 the week before. Hospitalizations are also down to 18 this week. There were 26 the previous Tuesday. O'Dell described the trends as "being on the right side of the curve," meaning the wave has peaked and is beginning to trend down for some period of time.
While those trends are good, O’Dell still urged caution during a weekly conference call with reporters. "What we know all over the world is that as soon as people started loosening restrictions and sending people back to school, numbers started going back up."
Several COVID-19-related deaths have been reported over the past week, including a 33-year-old man. He was the youngest person in the Roanoke area to die of coronavirus-related complications. All of the other deaths in the district were people age 59 or older.
COVID-19 is still affecting a large percentage of younger people. The 20-29 age group is most prevalant age group in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District.
Vacationers coming back from Myrtle Beach no longer need to quarantine for two weeks.
Doctor Molly O’Dell says it’s been several weeks since any COVID-19 cases in the region could be directly traced to Myrtle Beach and Horry County, South Carolina.
O’Dell said the quarantine order earlier in the summer did its job. "During that early period, we would see some people in quarantine become positive, so we mitigated the spread of those Horry County-related cases by having people quarantine and self-monitor."
About ten percent of all the coronavirus cases in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District could be traced to travel to Myrtle Beach. O’Dell said COVID-19 conditions there are now under better control.