ROANOKE, Va. – While health experts say influenza and RSV activity are significantly down from where they were, cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.
“We’re up to 680 new cases in last week so that’s compared to about 600 the week before, and we’ve been averaging well over 100 for a few weeks there,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Director of Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts.
The RCAHD is also reporting 55 new hospitalizations due to COVID-19. While the cases are growing, health experts say COVID is not as prevalent in our community as it was the last couple of years.
“These are diseases that we have a vaccine for. So anyone who wants to decrease their risk of hospitalization or death associated with either influenza or COVID need to make sure they’re up to date on their vaccines,” Morrow added.
According to the CDC, in our region the most circulating strain of COVID is BQ1 and BQ1.1 with a new variant, XBB.1.5 increasing at the fastest rate.
“I don’t know that at this point that there’s a lot of value in tracking the strains, it’s just to help us see that it’s continually evolving, and with any change or variant there is a potential for a different set of symptoms.”
With COVID, the flu, the cold and other respiratory illnesses all colliding at once, when you know it’s time to take a COVID test? Dr. Morrow encourages anyone who has symptoms of what feels like a bad cold to get tested.