RICHMOND, Va. – State health officials in Virginia are urging people who have mild coronavirus symptoms to avoid unnecessary trips to hospital emergency rooms.
Thursday’s request by the Virginia Department of Health is being made at a time when the state is entering its fifth coronavirus surge since the pandemic began.
State health officials say they’ve documented more than 50,000 new infections since Friday. At the same time, daily COVID-19 hospitalizations jumped from 922 on Dec. 1 to 2,100 on Thursday. That’s a 128% increase.
Health officials said hospitals are already feeling the strain of the latest surge. And a hospital visit isn’t the appropriate place to go for someone who has contracted the coronavirus and has mild or moderate symptoms, the officials said. Most people can recover from home or reach out to their primary care doctor.
The Virginia Department of Health added that the peak of the current surge may not arrive until several weeks after the holiday season ends. That means the surge’s impact on the healthcare system is likely yet to be fully felt.