ROANOKE, Va – Virginia health officials are releasing new information which shows that younger populations in our region causing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Since May 1, in the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, the percentage of coronavirus cases in those under 40 has jumped from 20% to 50.22% of the districts’ total cases.
Dr. Molly O’Dell, with VDH, said the largest age group with COVID-19 cases in our area is 18-19 years old.
“The adverse effects of this virus on the body go up with age, so I can easily understand how young people know their friends had COVID and it was no big deal and so they believe that it’s no big deal and that it’s easier to shrug off,” O’Dell said.
She said the spike in cases has been caused by people returning to work or attending what she calls super-spreader events, such as a beach trip or a party.
Infectious disease specialists at Carilion Clinic are seeing the same trend.
“We have younger people going out, having fun, not being careful about this virus,” explained Carilion’s Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie.
VDH said the region continues to see a spike in cases from people visiting Myrtle Beach.
Carilion said those with fewer symptoms may not be aware they are spreading it.
“Data suggests that between 30-50%, or even higher, may be asymptomatic, but unfortunately will transmit it, you will also have people who will have mild symptoms and therefore think not much of it,” Baffoe-Bonnie Said.
VDH said it has seen more hospitalizations this week than when the first COVID-19 cases occurred in our area.