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Weekly COVID-19 update: Steep case decline, but death total rises

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COVID-19 testing site

Cars arrive at the drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Carilion Clinic Testing Center in Roanoke.

Virginia reported 30,669 new COVID-19 infections over the past week, bringing the cumulative total during the pandemic to 1,602,691, the Virginia Department of Health reported Friday.

The number of new daily infections continues to drop significantly across the state. However, the number of deaths has increased.

Virginia reported 779 new virus-related deaths over the past seven days, for a total of 17,482 since the start of the pandemic. Last week, the state reported 576 new deaths.

Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts Director Cynthia Morrow said this trend is expected. Deaths typically lag behind the peak in case counts and hospitalizations, which the state saw last month.

Hospitalization numbers are coming down along with case counts. The state reported 47,170 total hospitalizations since the pandemic began, although the VDH website notes that hospitalizations are underrepresented.

Virginia’s near southwest region, which includes hospitals from Lynchburg to the Roanoke Valley, had 353 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday, including 79 in intensive care. Last Friday, there had been 453 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the region, including 96 in ICUs.

Morrow said the declining cases and hospitalizations are good signs.

“While this is a very welcome trend, it is important to note that every jurisdiction in the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District is still in high community transmission as shown in the local data,” she said.

As of Friday, 80.7% 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 health department operates a community testing center at Valley View Mall. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments will speed up registration. Appointments can be scheduled at vase.vdh.virginia.gov/testingappointment.

The Roanoke Times contributed to this report.

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Alison Graham covers health and technology. She’s originally from Indianapolis and a graduate of Indiana University.

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