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Augusta County records highest COVID-19 transmission in months

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 5:53 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - COVID-19 cases are surging across the country, especially in areas with low vaccination rates.

Doctors at Augusta Health and officials with the Central Shenandoah Health District say Augusta County is seeing some of the highest rates of transmission in the state.

“At the beginning of the month, we had five COVID-19 patients in our hospital, and, within weeks, we’ve seen a rise of 33 patients currently hospitalized,” said Augusta Health’s Medical Director of Infectious Diseases Dr. Allison Baroco. “Unfortunately things are not good here in our community.”

Baroco says Augusta Health recorded their eighth highest day of COVID testing Sunday, August 22. There were 73 positive cases at the Augusta Health testing site.

“[Augusta County is] one of the places where COVID is spreading, and it is spreading rapidly, and spreading rapidly among folks who are unvaccinated,” said Central Shenandoah Health District Communications Specialist Jordi Shelton.

Shelton says cases are rising so quickly because of the delta variant.

“It is so highly transmissible, and it is able to really just attack these communities where there are significant numbers of people who are unvaccinated,” Shelton said.

Both Shelton and Baroco say the virus is spreading predominantly among unvaccinated people, though there are some breakthrough cases at Augusta Health.

“What we’re seeing in [unvaccinated] populations is that many of them are elderly and frail, and those are the people we would naturally expect would not have as robust response to the vaccines as others,” said Baroco.

Although there haven’t been large outbreaks at local schools, Baroco says she’s worried there will be.

“I’m worried that the delta variant is unfortunately affecting children more than the other variants, so we have to be worried about that,” Baroco said.

Shelton says the recent increase in cases means it’s crucial to get vaccinated.

“We know the vaccines are effective at preventing serious illness to the point of being hospitalized and death. Now more that ever, it really is crucial to get that,” said Shelton.

The Virginia Department of Health reported 10,712 breakthrough cases throughout the state. Among those, there are 404 hospitalized cases and 83 deaths. There are 741,160 total cases, 32,858 hospitalizations and 11,675 deaths throughout the state.

The state also reported 0.2% of fully vaccinated people have gotten COVID-19, 0.009% have been hospitalized, and 0.0018% have died.

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