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COVID hospitalizations continue slow, steady climb in western Virginia

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 8:23 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Hospitals in western Virginia didn’t see the initial surge in COVID-19 cases that other parts of the country suffered.

But we have experienced a slow, steady climb in cases that continues to concern health officials.

Mike Abbott is Carilion Clinic’s senior vice president for hospital operations.

“Looking at the VDH numbers, we’re at some of the higher numbers that we’ve been at, for people in our region that are currently positive with COVID, and we’ve seen the same thing with the hospitals,” Abbott told WDBJ7. “We’ve seen a slow, gradual but continuous increase in the number of COVID patients that we care for.”

With everything we’ve learned since the pandemic began, and the precautions now in place, Abbott said he doesn’t foresee a large spike in cases here.

“What I see for the future is hopefully a decrease,” Abbott said, “if nothing else a flattening, and worse case an increase, but I would see it to continue to be slow.

Where the numbers go from here, he says, is in our hands.

“We talk about pandemic fatigue, right, but wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing and getting a flu shot are more important now than they’ve ever been,” Abbott said.

Carilion Clinic, LewisGale, the Salem VA Medical Center, Centra Health and Sova Health are partnering to provide a better picture of COVID hospitalizations in the region.

Every Wednesday they plan to provide cumulative data for the Near Southwest Region to include the number of people who are hospitalized with COVID-19, the number in intensive care and the number who are using ventilators.

They hope a weekly regional snapshot will improve understanding of local trends.

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