No end in sight as cases continue to soar

Published 8:05 am Thursday, January 6, 2022

COVID-19 cases continue to climb at record breaking speed with dramatic jumps in coronavirus cases attributed to omicron variant.

According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in the Piedmont Health District alone, coronavirus cases continue to climb at a dramatic pace. Jumping from 229 cases reported the week of Dec. 19-25 to 587 the week of Dec. 26 2021, through Jan 1. Every county in the health district has been on an upward trend in cases for 27 days or more.

From the seven-day period of Dec. 28 through Jan.3, according to the VDH, Charlotte County reported 85 cases of the virus and Lunenburg rose by 47 cases.

Over the last week, Prince Edward County saw 138 new coronavirus cases. Buckingham was up by 43 cases and Cumberland jumped 50 cases.

Virginia continued to see record-breaking virus numbers surrounding the New Year holiday.

On Monday, Jan 3, the state reported 7,967 new coronavirus cases; a dramatic increase compared to 4,472 cases reported seven days earlier.

The commonwealth reported an unprecedented 19,506 new cases in one day on Jan 2.

The state’s seven-day moving average (the average number of cases reported across a seven-day period) was reported to be 13,265 on Jan 3. compared to 6,307 one week prior. This number more than doubles Virginia’s previous record for a seven-day moving average of 6,161 cases reported Jan. 19, 2021.

As previously reported Piedmont Health quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. According to the release individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

According to the CDC isolation relates to behavior after a confirmed infection. Isolation for 5 days followed by wearing a well-fitting mask will minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others. Quarantine refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. Both updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious.

CDC officials note data from South Africa and the United Kingdom demonstrate that vaccine effectiveness against infection for two doses of an mRNA vaccine is approximately 35%. A COVID-19 vaccine booster dose restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to 75%. COVID-19 vaccination decreases the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The CDC strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 5 and older and boosters for everyone 16 and older. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky advised, “The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”