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Doctor: Community change needs to happen; otherwise COVID cases will continue to rise

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 7:19 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A health director in the region is warning community members that if they do not start practicing the proper COVID safety precautions, the numbers are going to continue to rise.

“We are continuing to see high rates of outbreaks, high rates of hospitalizations and high rates of cases,” Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow said.

This week the health district is reporting more than 100 active cases.

It is also another record week of hospitalizations, with a total of 51 people currently battling the virus in hospital beds.

“This does not just impact those 51 people who are suffering with COVID. It impacts all of their families and all of their loved ones,” Morrow said.

These aren’t just numbers, Morrow said; these are stories that highlight the grip this virus has on our community and the need for all of us to do our part to stop its spread.

“We will expect rates to increase as long as people continue to not follow the recommendations that have been made over the last several months,” Morrow said.

Carilion Clinic said it is prepared for a surge in hospitalizations.

“We have increased bed capacity. We have increased our staffing model, redeploying physicians and other clinical workers to areas where we need them or if in the future we need them,” Carilion Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrice Weiss said.

Carilion said this is not a time to get scared; instead it’s an opportunity to take action.

“We are all in this together for our community,” Weiss said.

As the temperatures drop and people move inside, the health district expects an increase in cases and the community will have to be even more diligent with masks and social distancing, Morrow said.

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