Pictured: Virginia’s daily COVID-19 case counts since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — State health officials in Virginia are urging people who have mild coronavirus symptoms to avoid unnecessary trips to hospital emergency rooms.
Thursday’s request by the Virginia Department of Health is being made at a time when the state is entering its fifth coronavirus surge since the pandemic began.
State health officials say they’ve documented more than 50,000 new infections since Friday. At the same time, daily COVID-19 hospitalizations jumped from 922 on Dec. 1 to 2,100 on Thursday, a 128% increase.
Health officials said hospitals are already feeling the strain of the latest surge. And a hospital visit isn’t the appropriate place to go for someone who has contracted the coronavirus and has mild or moderate symptoms, the officials said. Most people can recover from home or reach out to their primary care doctor.
The Virginia Department of Health added that the peak of the current surge may not arrive until several weeks after the holiday season ends. That means the surge’s impact on the healthcare system is likely yet to be felt.
On the Eastern Shore, the Virginia Department of Health reported that on Wednesday there were 44 test positives in Accomack County and 21 in Northampton, which is an increase from earlier in the week. However, there were no deaths in either county. Northampton reported no hospitalizations and the Health Department revised hospitalizations for Accomack downward by two.
Accomack has a 7 day average of new cases per 100,000 of 57.3, Northampton has 47.5. Virginia has 101.2, so both counties are still well below the state average. Accomack’s 14 day total of cases per 100,000 population is 561.5 and Northampton’s is 434.6. Virginia’s 14 day average per 100, ooo population is 1068. These figures could change as the latest wave of infections progresses but for now, the Eastern Shore remains well below the state averages.