Southwest Virginia COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations on the rise once again

One health expert says at-home testing is leaving doctors in the dark about unreported cases

Health leaders in our area are seeing another uptick in COVID-19 cases.

ROANOKE, Va. – Virginia’s Department of Health (VDH) reported nearly 3,300 new COVID-19 cases Friday.

It was the second consecutive day with more than 3,000 new cases, which has not happened since February.

Christie Wills, communications officer for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, says that with more people using at-home test kits, doctors are left in the dark about unreported cases.

“We think that, even though the number of cases that have been reported to us are trending up, the actual number of cases is probably significantly larger,” said Wills.

VDH is also watching the situation at hospitals.

“We are not seeing the spike in hospitalizations that gave us so much concern during the Winter, but hospitalizations are up,” said Wills.

Health experts say Centra, Carilion Clinic, LewisGale, Sovah, and Salem VA reported a total of 52 COVID-19 patients Friday. That compares to 13 patients on April 14.

AFC Urgent Care in Roanoke is also seeing an increase in patients. They reported 64 total positive cases from May 1-12, compared to 9 from April 19-30.

One official tells 10 News that they continue to test patients in their cars. They averaged 14 COVID-19 tests per day May 1-12, compared to an average of seven tests per day April 19-30.

Wills says VDH is keeping an eye on the near future.

“Other localities around the state are moving into yellow, and we wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of our Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District localities tick up into the yellow, medium level next week,” said Wills.

She says you can protect yourself by getting a vaccine and a booster.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.