ROANOKE, Va – A rise in hospitalizations for COVID-19 cases has health officials in the Roanoke and Alleghany Health Districts calling for more vigilance from the public when it comes to curbing the spread of the disease.
Health officials say they are now seeing the most hospitalizations since March.
“We have far too many people hospitalized with this disease and so it’s just so important that we do whatever we can to protect ourselves and protect each other,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts.
This week the Virginia Department of Health is reporting an increase of 11 hospitalizations related to COVID bringing the total to 50 in the Roanoke-Alleghany region.
Molly O’Dell with the department of health says certain races are being disproportionally impacted in admissions to the hospitals.
“I can tell you that 23% of all of our admissions have been African Americans and 15% of our hospital admissions so far have been Hispanic so for hospitalizations there is a disparity in both of those groups compared to their representation in our community,” O’Dell said.
Health leaders with Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, LewisGale Medical Center, and the Salem VA Medical Center sent out a joint statement asking the community to help prevent transmission of the virus:
"Our region has seen a rise in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 over the last few weeks. We need your help to keep our families, friends and neighbors safe and healthy.
As our Virginia Department of Health colleagues have mentioned, we saw 26 outbreaks of COVID-19 last week in the Roanoke and Alleghany Health District. Parts of southwest Virginia continue to experience a high rate of transmission of the virus.
Now is not the time to let our guard down. We must remain vigilant. If we don’t, the virus will take advantage of our weariness.
From the very beginning, our health systems have been coordinating and collaborating to ensure the healthcare resources our community needs are available. Those efforts continue and we have capacity in our hospitals to handle those with acute cases of COVID-19. But with your help, we can reduce the number of patients who need that level of care.
We can stop the spread, but it will take all of us working together.
Wash your hands often. Watch your distance – Stay at least six feet apart. And wear your mask."
Health Department leaders warn that as flu season quickly approaches, it is up to everyone to seriously follow the guidelines to prevent a further spike in hospitalizations, outbreaks, and COVID-19 cases.
“Our numbers are telling us that this is an ongoing fight against COVID and we need to stay on top of it by doing everything that we can,” Morrow said.
VDH officials say they are considering new practices to encourage the community to follow the guidelines.