Virginia COVID-19 hospitalizations rise 106% in December

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 12:17 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2021 at 12:30 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Across Virginia, more than 1,900 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19. That number stood at 922 on Dec. 1 and represents a 106% increase.

“Obviously the concern is as these numbers keep going up, you know, we will again reach elevated levels of both cases and hospitalizations which puts a great strain on the health care delivery system and dedicated caregivers and clinicians who work there,” said Julian Walker, VHHA Spokesperson.

HCA Virginia’s Chippenham Hospital is seeing a slight increase in COVID hospitalizations.

In light of the omicron variant spreading, Virginia hospitals continue to face staffing shortages. Health care workers are facing their fifth surge of the pandemic in less than two years.

VHHA says its hospitals are adjusting staffing models and bringing in a staffing agency to help attract more medical workers.

“But staffing really is a challenge especially when you have team members who contract illness, whether in their personal lives or the workplace, and have to abide by quarantine and isolation guidelines,” said Walker.

VHHA’s spokesperson says time will tell if recent CDC changes to isolation guidelines will help front-line workers, cutting quarantine time in half. But, the guidance is very specific for asymptomatic people who are also fully vaccinated.

At its peak, VHHA said more than 1,000 staff members had to be sidelined due to COVID-19.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that certainly folks who work in health care here in the commonwealth and elsewhere in other places, have dealt with burnout, have dealt with stress and strain,” said Walker.

VHHA is working on ways to deal with those issues, which includes a program called “Care for Caregivers” to provide mental health support to medical workers.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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