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Virginia health officials urge community to take restrictions seriously as COVID-19 cases rise

Hospital beds for Roanoke City COVID-19 patients in are approaching 90% capacity.

Health officials urge caution as pandemic continues, look ahead to vaccine
Health officials urge caution as pandemic continues, look ahead to vaccine

ROANOKE, Va. – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the region, health officials are planning and preparing to distribute a vaccine once its ready.

Until then, the Virginia Department of Health is using new measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Virginia Department of Health and Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir teamed up to make a jingle once again asking the community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We cannot over state how important it is needed for people to do everything in their power to reduce transmission of this disease,” Roanoke and Alleghany Health District’s Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow said.

The latest numbers from the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts show the area has a substantial amount of community transmission. Hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in Roanoke City are approaching 90% capacity.

“Clearly these numbers are painting a very clear story, that COVID-19 continues to have an incredibly strong presence in our community and is having a stronger presence every day,” Morrow said.

As numbers continue to rise, health districts across the region have been using drive thru flu clinics as a way to practice vaccine distribution.

“There have been a lot of discussion about who would get the vaccine first and obviously we want to look at our higher risk people,” New River Health District Director Dr. Noelle Bissell said.

Dr. Noelle Bissell with the new river health district says distributing the vaccine when its ready will not be as easy as people may think.

“There are going to be some logistical challenges with the vaccine its going to be most likely a two part vaccine so we would have to vaccinate folks one day and then approximately three weeks later they would need the second dose,” Bissell said.

Bissell believes while the vaccine may be ready as soon as November, it likely won’t be readily available until 2021.

Until then, health officials everywhere want to continue to remind the community to continue to social distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands.

The Virginia Department of Health is warning the public to take preventative measures against COVID-19 even if you have already had it. The Director of the Roanoke Alleghany Health Districts says there is not enough information readily available about COVID-19 immunity.

About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.