New River Valley is seeing a decrease in new COVID-19 cases of more than 30%

Area’s health leader finds the numbers promising

FILE - A healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Oct. 5, 2021, in Miami. The Air Force became the second military service to approve religious exemptions to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine, granting requests from nine airmen to avoid the shots, officials said Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Lynne Sladky, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

New coronavirus cases are down 35% in the New River Valley, according to the health district’s leader.

During her weekly call, Dr. Noelle Bissell, who oversees the health district that covers Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski counties, as well as Radford, said that the numbers are promising.

She also encouraged parents not to be discouraged with Pfizer’s postponement for FDA approval for its age 5 and under vaccine.

Bissell pointed out that the delay isn’t about the safety of the vaccine in children, but whether the tested dose is effective for specifically 2 to 4-year-olds or if a third dose is needed.

“I hope people see it as a good sign that the data wasn’t showing what they wanted to see, so they’re putting it on hold until they get more data with that third dose,” said Bissell.

Pfizer is expected to have more data on the third dose by April.

Bissell also spoke about mask mandates for students during her call on Monday.

During her weekly update, she said the data doesn’t show much of a difference between schools with mask mandates and those without.

She supports moving away from broad mandates and leaving it up to individuals to decide what’s best for their families.

“I think where we are with our cases coming down, I think our children being of the lowest risk, and I think the data showing that the curves really didn’t change that much for all those reasons that I mentioned, it really is time that now we have this personal choice, family choice, that we do what’s best for our family,” said Bissell.

She did make the point that people should not shame one another for the decision to mask or un-mask.

About the Author

After working and going to school in Central Virginia for over five years, Lindsey’s made her way back home to the mountains.

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