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Labor Day-related increase in COVID cases could still be coming, Roanoke health director warns

Labor Day-related increase in COVID cases could still be coming, Roanoke health director warns

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The Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts saw roughly 808 new diagnoses of COVID-19 over the past seven days, an increase from last week’s total of 715 new cases.

But in her weekly briefing on the virus in the area, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the districts, cautioned that the most recent numbers might skew higher later, due to the Labor Day holiday and potential testing delays.

Morrow also issued a reminder to parents of children — particularly kids under the age of 12 who are still not eligible to be vaccinated — that the delta variant is disproportionately impacting young people.

“It seems that a lot of parents are not necessarily understanding that when their children are in quarantine, that doesn’t just mean they need to stay home from school — that means they need to stay home,” she said, and warned of the prospect of virus transmission outside the school setting.

“If your child is [in] isolation because they have COVID, they must stay in their room, separated to the extent possible ... from household contacts” and from social gatherings such as birthday parties and sporting events, she said. “There’s just too much disease activity going on.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information about the differences between quarantining and going into isolation is at https://bit.ly/3DTB4lW.

As she has in weeks past, Morrow urged anyone who can get vaccinated to do so, but said locally the number of shots administered in the two health districts remains at about 3,000 per week, roughly the same average it was across August.

She also underscored an ongoing threat that exists the longer the pandemic lasts.

“Viral replication is the greatest risk for the next iteration, the next variant of COVID-19,” Morrow explained.

“The more we allow this virus to continue replicating at the rate it’s replicating, the more we’re inviting it to become the next strain, the next variant that may be even more dangerous or may be vaccine resistant.”

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