For the first time in months, the number of weekly new COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke area has dropped below 200.
The director of the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District reported 194 weekly new cases Tuesday. There were 314 in the previous week, according to data presented by Dr. Cynthia Morrow.
The number of hospitalizations also dropped from 36 to 26. Morrow noted that some other health districts in Virginia are not seeing declines in hospitalizations. Eight additional deaths were recorded over the past week.
"So it's cautious optimism that our case count has gone down a little bit and our hospitalizations have gone down. But I do think we need to remain cautious. We know that case counts are high in other parts of the country," Morrow told reporters during a weekly news conference.
Morrow also noted a steep decline in demand for COVID-19 vaccine at mass clinics organized by the health department. Mass clinics will be ramped down this week with a final first-dose clinic at Roanoke's Berglund Center scheduled for Thursday. "At this point, it seems that most effective way to get vaccine out into the community is through pharmacies, through our smaller community outreach clinics and through primary care providers." If demand swells again, Morrow said additional mass clinics could be organized.
Because demand for vaccine has been declining, the health district is receiving fewer doses. Morrow said the district is expecting only 6,580 doses for the week, down from 8,850 the previous week and 13,660 earlier in the month.