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Weekly COVID-19 update: Statewide surge in cases reported

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Virginia reported a surge of 35,946 new COVID-19 infections over the past week, bringing the cumulative total during the pandemic to 1.05 million, the Virginia Department of Health reported Friday.

The state on Friday reported 211 new virus-related deaths over the past seven days, for a total of 15,294 since the start of the pandemic.

In the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, more than 700 people have died from COVID-19 complications.

The state reported 383 more hospitalizations over the past seven days, increasing the total number of people hospitalized during the pandemic to 40,346, although the VDH website notes that hospitalizations are underrepresented. As cases are more fully investigated, the number of hospitalizations is adjusted.

Virginia’s near southwest region, which includes hospitals from Lynchburg to the Roanoke Valley, had 283 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday, including 92 in intensive care.

As of Friday, 77.8% of Virginia’s adult population had been fully vaccinated.

Within the local health district, Craig County ranks third from the bottom among Virginia localities with the lowest percentage rate — 47.3% in the rural country’s case — of the population that has received at least one vaccine dose.

The state health department recommends the following precautions for holiday gatherings:

Get vaccinated, and get your booster if you’re eligible.

Wear a mask in public indoor spaces.

Gather outside, or in well ventilated areas.

Stay at home and get tested if you’re having any symptoms of COVID-19.

Wash your hands frequently, including before and after preparing food.

Also, the VDH says to consider the following risk levels when making plans to celebrate the holidays with loved ones this year:

Low Risk ActivitiesVirtual parties with your friends and family.

Celebrating at home, with the people that live with you.

Medium Risk ActivitiesIndoor gatherings with fully vaccinated individuals from different households.

Outdoor gatherings with individuals from different households where not everyone may be vaccinated.

High Risk ActivitiesLarge, indoor gatherings with people from different households who are unvaccinated.

Celebrating in indoor, poorly ventilated spaces.

Events where large groups of people stand close together while cheering, singing, or loudly celebrating.

Traveling to a gathering in another community for individuals who are unvaccinated.

Children ages 5-11 have 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 or by calling 877-829-4682. Walk-ins are also now open for adults and children.

The Roanoke Times contributed to this report.

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