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BRHD: High level of COVID-19 transmission in Charlottesville area

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 3:26 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Blue Ridge Health District is experiencing a high level of COVID-19 transmission.

Currently, more than 20% of COVID-19 tests in the district are coming back positive, but doctors say the good news is that fewer people are requiring hospitalization.

“The vaccine is doing a wonderful job of preventing people from having to go into the hospital to use the ICU. So that’s good news, but it’s not doing a good job of preventing you from getting the infection and having like a runny nose, cold and flu symptoms,” Doctor Bill Petri with UVA Health said Tuesday, May 31.

The CDC says the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson counties are classified as “high” level of transmission. Louisa County is listed as “medium.”

“We’ve been creeping up the transmission lines really over about the last month. We were low, and then we were medium, and now we’re high,” Petri said.

Doctors believe the omicron sub-variants are driving this spike in cases.

“On the state level, we are seeing about 3,000 cases per day, and that’s a seven day moving average. So this is really not surprising,” Doctor Brooke Rossheim with the Virginia Department of Health said.

Dr. Rossheim says there are ways to slow the spread of the virus: ”The biggest one of all is vaccination. That is clearly our best defense, because vaccination helps prevent cases, and that’s exactly what you want to do is you don’t want cases to happen in the first place. Like I said, no vaccine is perfect, but the thing is these vaccinations work well. The data to back that up,” she said.

At UVA Health, doctors are trying to keep up with new contagious variants of the coronavirus.

“We’re going through a new variant at least once a month, and so we’re on to our fourth sub-variant of omicron. And so if you had omicron in December or January, you probably are not completely immune to the omicron sub-variant that’s going around in Charlottesville today,” Dr. Petri said.

The CDC says anyone in a high transmission area should wear a mask indoors and get tested if any symptoms pop up. Also, stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.

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