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Weekly COVID-19 update: Case totals and hospitalizations remain at record high

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COVID-19 Testing Site

A pile of unassigned test kits await staff from the Virginia Department of Health to administer the nasal swab PCR COVID-19 tests at Salem Civic Center earlier this month in Salem.

Virginia reported 130,381 new COVID-19 infections over the past week, bringing the cumulative total during the pandemic to 1,351,417, the Virginia Department of Health reported Friday.

The state reported 1,771 more hospitalizations over the past seven days, increasing the total number of people hospitalized during the pandemic to 45,827, although the VDH website notes that hospitalizations are underrepresented.

Virginia’s near southwest region, which includes hospitals from Lynchburg to the Roanoke Valley, had 499 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday, including 117 in intensive care. Last Friday, there had been 404 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the region, including 104 in ICUs.

Virginia reported 152 new virus-related deaths over the past seven days, for a total of 15,803 since the start of the pandemic.

The latest COVID-19 variant, omicron, is sweeping across the state and considered to be more transmissible than previous variants alpha and delta, but seems to cause less severe symptoms.

Yet Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts director Cynthia Morrow said the region is still seeing record high case numbers and hospitalizations.

“I hope people aren’t letting their guard down because it’s still having a significant impact on our communities,” Morrow said. “We have 140 people in the hospital right now with COVID. That’s not something to laugh at. That’s not something to dismiss as being not severe. If that were your loved one, it wouldn’t feel mild or less severe to you.”

Morrow said the district administered vaccine doses to 5,000 more people in the last week.

As of Friday, 78.5% of Virginia’s adult population had been fully vaccinated.

Everyone aged 5 or older has been approved to receive a vaccine, which are available at the community vaccination center in the former Sears store at Valley View Mall, located at 4812 Valley View Blvd. People can make appointments at vaccinate.virgina.gov or by calling 877-829-4682. Walk-ins are also open for adults and children.

The Roanoke Times contributed to this report.

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Alison Graham covers Roanoke County and Salem news. She’s originally from Indianapolis and a graduate of Indiana University.

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