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As hospitalizations increase, Carilion Clinic pushes the importance of COVID-19 vaccines

Most of those hospitalized are unvaccinated

What local doctors say about CDC's reversion on its mask guidance
What local doctors say about CDC's reversion on its mask guidance

ROANOKE, Va. – As vaccination rates slow, infections of COVID-19 and hospitalizations of those infected increase.

Tuesday, CDC officials reversed their mask recommendation in certain circumstances.

“In areas with substantial and high transmission, the CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. She spoke to reporters by phone.

“Many weeks ago we would just have two to three hospitalized. In the last couple of weeks, upwards of twenty individuals would be hospitalized,” admitted Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie. He is an infection prevention and control specialist at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Most of those hospitalized are unvaccinated, said Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie.

“If you allow the virus to freely circulate because so many people are unvaccinated, you give it yet again another opportunity to mutate,” said NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Will the mutations outpower the vaccines on the market? Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie says it’s too soon to know.

As for now, “when you’re vaccinated, even if you do get infected, your disease is very mild,” said Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie.

100 million Americans remain unvaccinated, according to NBC News reporting. More than 3.4 million of them are Virginians, according to VDH data.

As health officials continue to study the possibility of booster shots especially for Americans 65 or older, those disabled, and those immunocompromised, Blue Ridge Independent Living in Roanoke released this PSA.

“We are very concerned about COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among individuals with disabilities,” said Executive Director Karen Karney.

To find an available vaccine appointment near you, please visit vaccines.gov or vaccinate.virginia.gov.


About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.