As we observe the third anniversary of the first case of COVID identified in Virginia, we are pleased to report that COVID-19 activity continues to improve. We continue to see decreases in the number of laboratory-confirmed cases as well as COVID-associated hospitalizations. Cumulative RCAHD Case Count: 81,966 (up 149) People hospitalized with COVID-19, as of 3/6/23: 17 (8 new)
COVID-19 related deaths, as of 3/7/23: 1159; 719 Alleghany Health District, 440 Roanoke City Health District Current CDC Variant Proportions: Omicron variant XBB.1.5 represents over 95% of cases in the mid-Atlantic region.
Because influenza is not a reportable disease, we do not have reliable local data. “Influenza Like Activity” (ILI) monitored at the state level is now at a low level in Virginia and across the country.
Invasive Group A Strep:
RCAHD has noted an increase in the number of community-acquired cases of invasive group A strep (iGAS) reported in 2022 (26 cases), compared to 2021 (15 cases). In addition, six cases have already been reported as of January 2023. Background: Group A Streptococcus (group A strep or GAS) bacteria can cause a wide range of both non-invasive and invasive infections. These can include: minor illnesses (strep throat and impetigo) moderate illnesses (abscesses and cellulitis) very serious disease (necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome) Only invasive disease is reportable to the health department. The two most common risk factors for RCAHD iGAS cases included:
A history of minor injury with compromise to skin integrity (e.g., scrapes and burns) leading to invasive disease (10 cases/26) Substance use disorder (10 cases/26) The most important strategy to prevent group A strep infections is to practice good hygiene, including hand washing and appropriate wound care in the event of an injury to the skin. Early recognition of GAS by medical providers and appropriate antibiotic use remain the best strategies to prevent more serious iGAS cases.