Roanoke Region COVID-19 Cases Move Higher, But Holiday Impact Still to Come

Dec 1, 2020

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District continues to move higher.  

Dr. Cynthia Morrow reported 1,417 active cases as of Tuesday morning.  That's about 145 more than a week ago.  An active case is defined as a person who is still within the 10 day isolation period following a positive test.

Credit CDC

Seven additional deaths were recorded over the past week.  The number of active outbreaks dropped a bit from 27 to 25.  Long term care and congregate living facilities still make up the majority of outbreak locations.

The total number of hospitalizations has remained steady at 72 this week, down from 74.  While that total number hasn't changed much over the last couple of weeks, Morrow said 42 of the 72 hospitalized individuals this week are new hospitalizations.

The increase in cases all around Virginia is slowing down the notification and contact tracing process. So health officials are asking individuals to take action.  "If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, please let people who you had close contact know so they can know to go into quarantine and reduce the risk of transmitting it to other people," Morrow advised on a Tuesday conference call with reporters.

Morrow said she expects a post-Thanksgiving surge won’t begin to show up for another week and the full impact could take two to three weeks.

While Some Schools Go Virtual, Roanoke Area Divisions Stick to Plans

Because of rising community cases, some Virginia school divisions moved to all-virtual learning through the beginning of the new year.  But schools divisions in the Roanoke region have not changed their plans at this point.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District, says that’s because conditions and resources vary across the state.  "We’ve had a couple of cases where there might be two people in a school who had close contact with each other.  But we have no sustained in-school transmission," Morrow said Tuesday morning.  "That is different in some other health districts.  So different districts are doing different things."  Morrow added that capacity and staffing availability are also factors for a school division's decision.

Morrow said she continues to recommend against conducting close-contact, indoor school sports this winter.  Schools in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District mutually agreed to let regional and district infection metrics guide the decision to allow competition.  Click here for Roanoke City Schools explanation.