ROANOKE, Va – As COVID-19-related hospitalizations continue to rise in the greater Roanoke Valley, health officials are once again asking the community to help prevent the spread of the virus.
More than half of the COVID-19 patients in the Roanoke-Alleghany region are being treated at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Health officials said the area is experiencing the largest number of hospitalizations to date.
“People continue to not follow the recommendations that have been set for the last several months,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke-Alleghany Health District.
51 people in the area are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. 27 of them are at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where the staff is working around the clock addressing the increase.
“We have increased bed capacity, we have increased our staffing model, we are resending physicians to different areas if we need them or if in the future we need them,” said Patrice Weiss, Carilion chief medical officer.
Health officials are also asking business owners to follow the guidelines. The Department of Health has gotten roughly 1,700 complaints about face coverings since June.
Dr. Molly O’Dell with the Department of Health said her team was supposed to get additional staffing to track the complaints, but that hasn’t happened yet.
“It’s put our staff in a position that every single day, they have to prioritize what’s critical,” said O’Dell.
Outbreaks, hospitalizations and cases continue to rise in the region and health officials expect numbers to keep trending in the wrong direction.
“Carilion has the bandwidth and capacity for a surge, but one preventable case, one preventable death, that’s too many,” Weiss said.
Right now, capacity is not an issue at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Health officials hope to keep it that way with flu season just around the corner.