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Gov. Northam weighs in on COVID increase in SWVA

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 4:06 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - When Governor Ralph Northam arrived at the Roanoke Star Tuesday, he was looking over a valley dealing with fresh challenges from COVID-19.

According to Dr. Cynthia Morrow with the Virginia Department of Health, cases and hospitalizations in our region continue to climb.

“We are currently in a high-burden, increasing trend, with substantial transmission,” she said.

85.7% of available hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in the Roanoke Alleghany Health District are now full.

“COVID-19 continues to have an incredibly strong presence in our community and it’s having a stronger presence every day,” said Dr. Morrow.

The Governor told reporters Tuesday he’s monitoring that presence closely

“We monitor the number of hospitalizations every day, the number of individuals that are in the ICU, the number that are on ventilators, and so far we’re doing well,” he said.

Northam pointed out statewide, Virginia is at roughly 5% positivity for all COVID-19 tests. “It fluctuates a little bit every day. Out in the southwest, it’s a little over 8%.”

Northam pointed out that 5% number is key. If the state, and region, can get COVID-19 positivity below that threshold, some restrictions could be eased.

“If we can keep the numbers down below 5%, then we can talk about getting our students back into schools safely, getting our businesses back up and running,” he said.

But Northam says that all depends on the precautions people take. He will hold a briefing Wednesday at 1 p.m. to provide updates on the state’s response to COVID-19. You can watch it on WDBJ7, wdbj7.com or the WDBJ7 Facebook page.

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