With Thanksgiving approaching, Gov. Ralph Northam is urging Virginians to safely celebrate the holiday and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
At a Tuesday press briefing, Northam said hospitalizations and deaths have been increasing over the past month.
There were 1,435 new cases and 13 new deaths reported statewide on Tuesday, bringing the totals up to 194,912 probable cases and 3,726 deaths over the past eight months.
Virginia reported its highest count of new Coronavirus infections in a single day on Saturday, with 2,103 cases.
Health officials says the rate of nasal swab tests returning positive for the virus has also climbed, now up to 6.2 percent. In southwest Virginia, the rate is in the 9 percent range.
“The message today is for every Virginian. No region is an island. We all need to step up our vigilance and our precautions,” Northam said.
The governor said residents must maintain their vigilance and not be complacent about washing hands, wearing masks and keeping a distance of 6 feet from others to prevent the virus from spreading.
“I’m not saying don’t celebrate Thanksgiving,” he said. “Think about ways to do it safely.”
Health officials are recommending smaller gatherings on the holiday — preferably limiting the gathering to people who live inside your home.
Northam said even though there has been positive news this week regarding a COVID-19 vaccine, distribution in Virginia will likely take months.
Confirmed cases continue to mount in the Alleghany Highlands.
Wednesday, the VHD website reported 226 cumulative cases in Alleghany County and 82 in Covington. The cumulative case count in Bath County was 30.
Cumulative cases are confirmed cases that have been reported since the pandemic hit Virginia in March.
The Roanoke-Alleghany region is classified as being at high transmission for the virus, with a substantial burden on health care facilities.
Eighty-six people within the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts were hospitalized on Tuesday.
Schools in the health districts are classified as high risks. There were three COVID-19 outbreaks at schools in the region. However, the only school listed by VDH on its website is North Cross School in Roanoke.
Other outbreaks were reported in 15 long-term care facilities; four congregate-living settings, three businesses, three day-care facilities, three religious organizations, two health care facilities and one restaurant.
The Woodlands Health and Rehab Center in Clifton Forge is listed on the VDH website among long-term care facilities reporting an outbreak.
According to the VDH website, there have been eight confirmed cases at the Woodlands. The outbreak was initially reported to VDH on Oct. 27.
Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the health districts, said the key to limiting the spread of the virus continues to rest with people’s behaviors — namely wearing face coverings.
“We know that when we do the right thing, it works. Transmission goes down,” she said.
(Gavin Dressler Photo)