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New River Health district releases health guidelines ahead of Christmas holiday

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 5:09 PM EST
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NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. (WDBJ) - With days before Christmas, health leaders’ message on the spread of COVID is clear and remains the same.

“No matter what variant it is, whether it’s delta, which is still predominant here versus omicron, which will be predominant sooner rather than later -- that the same precautions work,” said Dr. Noelle Bissel the director of the New River Health District.

Health leaders in the New River Valley believe even with concerns growing over the omicron variant, the proper health precautions are the best defense in this anticipated new wave of COVID cases.

“I do think we’re in a much better place because we do have the vaccines. So I think we’re in a much better place than we were last year. Now will the cases get as high as they were last year, they might even pass last year because remember this one is more transmissible,” said Dr. Bissell.

Bissell said with the colder weather here, monitoring the spread of the new COVID variant is becoming a challenge as more activities move indoors.

“I think we’re at the point right now that it’s spreading, and we can’t put the genie back in the bottle. You know, stopping transmission right now is really, really challenging-- so we look at those outcomes,” said Dr. Bissell. “But what we’re hoping is that because it does at this point look like those hospitalizations and deaths will be much less than that we can weather the storm and that our health care systems can weather that storm as well.”

Dr. Bissell says to her knowledge, the omicron variant is not present in the New River health district.

She encourages those who are gathering for the holidays this year, to get tested and get your booster shot before gathering.

Bissell also said with the holidays approaching be mindful of testing clinic hours, some times may change.

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