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Roanoke City - Alleghany Health District leader says cases climb, hospitalizations down slightly

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - While the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has gone down slightly in the Roanoke City Alleghany Health Districts, the number of cases continues to rise.

About 670 more people have COVID this week compared to last, according to Dr. Cynthia Morrow, who heads up the health districts. She said about 30 percent of those new cases are in people under the age of 24. Twenty percent are in people under the age of 18.

During her virtual update Wednesday, Dr. Morrow said while they’re seeing more breakthrough cases than they’d like, more than 70 percent of hospitalizations are unvaccinated people.

“The evidence continues to be overwhelming that people who are unvaccinated are at far, far, far greater risk of being hospitalized or dying of COVID if they get COVID,” she said.

In fact, Dr. Morrow said unvaccinated people are 12 and a half times more likely to have bad outcomes with COVID, compared with those fully vaccinated. She said what’s helping us during this surge is the high vaccination rate for people over 65.

There are currently 11 outbreaks in the city, with one in a K-12 school. But as students return to the classroom, she reiterates a multi-level approach to safety, including mask wearing, is important.

“Bottom line is masks work really well in preventing the respiratory droplets from getting out into the environment, but they don’t in any way provide a barrier for the normal flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide,” Morrow said.

The Virginia Department of Health continues to push for vaccinations. To help with a slowly increasing demand, VDH will hold a vaccine clinic Monday at the Berglund Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can watch Dr. Morrow’s full update here.

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