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“Cases can start to trend upward again,” experts warn amid COVID-19 recovery

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:07 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - After the summer COVID-19 case surge, cases in the Central Shenandoah Health District are declining, but local experts say it’s too soon to completely relax.

“Our epi curve over the course of the pandemic has increased and decreased multiple times, so it does kind of ebb and flow, so we just need to be very mindful that cases can start to trend upward again,” said Jordi Shelton, communications specialist with the Central Shenandoah Health District.

Dr. Julia Murphy with the Virginia Department of Health says indicative markers show the Valley is headed out of this surge, and things are getting better throughout the commonwealth.

“We were reporting about 3,000 cases per day at the peak, now we’re reporting our latest numbers are around 1,300 a day,” Murphy said.

On top of that, Murphy says hospitalizations are down. Augusta Health officials reported Monday they have returned to operating only one of their ICUs. As far as testing goes, the state positivity rate is down to about 6.2%.

“Especially with some of the increased testing that businesses have been doing, that schools have been doing, we do think that’s a true decline. We do think that we’re on the other side of this at this point,” Murphy said.

Both Shelton and Murphy say health and safety practices will be key in keeping cases down through the winter.

“If we want to prevent a surge in cases like we saw last year around the holiday season, it’s going to be really important for folks to get vaccinated and continue to practice those mitigation measures,” Shelton said.

Murphy says the state will continue to watch the virus and make sure they’re on top of any developments.

“We’ll continue to monitor trends in cases and also any changes in the virus to see if any virus variants that are detected could signal a change in how infectious the virus could be, how severe it’s going to be,” Murphy said.

For now, Shelton says COVID remains a part of daily life.

“Transmissibility is still very high in our different localities, so while cases are trending downward, COVID is by no means gone,” Shelton said.

For more information on getting vaccinated in the commonwealth, visit VDH’s website or call (877) 829-4682.

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