Albemarle Co. sees record number of COVID cases as Omicron surges

UVA medical team sees success in COVID "long-hauler" clinic
UVA medical team sees success in COVID "long-hauler" clinic(WVIR)
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 10:39 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE Co., Va. (WVIR) - The numbers tell the tale: this is the worst surge of the coronavirus pandemic.

From Wednesday, Dec. 29, to Thursday, Dec. 30, 447 people in Albemarle County and Charlottesville have tested positive for COVID-19. That’s more than in the entire first two weeks of December.

The numbers tell the story of a surging virus, and also give a hint at what’s working.

Back in December of 2020, Thanksgiving and the holiday season fueled a COVID-19 surge. But what we’re seeing in December of 2021 has, so far, been worse.

In Charlottesville, there’s been a 24% increase in cases from last December to this December (and there’s still one day left).

In the county, there’s an 83% increase.

Two of the three worst days for COVID-19 cases in the county since the pandemic began came Wednesday and Thursday.

Case counts aren’t the only thing rising. Hospitalizations at UVA Health have increased 6% from last December to this December.

“So many of the folks that we see on ventilators or dying in the hospital are those who are unvaccinated,” Doctor Mo Nadkarni, an internist at UVA Health, said.

Across the commonwealth, the effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing hospitalizations is evident. Data from the Virginia Department of Health shows that from Dec. 11 to Dec. 18, unvaccinated people were hospitalized for COVID-19 at a rate nearly 11 times more than fully vaccinated people.

“The good news is a lot of people are vaccinated,” Dr. Bill Petri with UVA Health said. “We don’t have as many hospitalizations, although that’s higher as well.”

Data from the surge roughly a year ago suggests we still need to be cautious. The case counts didn’t hit their ceiling until mid-January, while hospitalizations at UVA Health didn’t start steadily decreasing until the calendar flipped to February.

“We’re going to be with very high transmission of Omicron probably through February or March,” Dr. Petri said.

Ahead of the New Year’s Eve holiday, the Blue Ridge Health District shared tips and advice for how to celebrate safely.

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