SALEM, Va. – The post-holiday numbers for COVID cases are in, and the Roanoke City and Allegheny Health Districts are reporting 40,000 total cases.
“Not surprisingly our case count is up, so we currently have almost 41,000 cases of COVID 19 reported,” said RCAHD Director Dr. Cynthia Murrow.
There are 1,100 new cases in Southwest Virginia and with many people taking at-home tests, the Virginia Department of Health suggests that’s likely an underestimate.
”The vast majority of our new cases, our hospitalizations and our deaths are among people who are not yet vaccinated,” added Murrow.
Monday, the CDC shortened the amount of time that people should isolate when they’ve tested positive for COVID-19 from ten days to five if they’re asymptomatic. The change could ease staffing issues experienced by hospitals and airlines, as well as help get people back to their day-to-day lives.
”It’s devasting in the impact that it’s had keeping children out of school, keeping people out of work. The economic devastation is profound. It’s really important for us to balance all of these threats,” said Murrow.
Locally, the health department is ramping up its efforts to provide access to COVID testing, including the free testing site at the Salem Civic Center that’s open from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through January, among other initiatives.
”We’re certainly looking to other ways to support testing capacity so our libraries have been able to provide at-home test kits. Some of our schools have the capacity to do some testing.”