Richmond-Henrico Health Districts ramping up COVID-19 testing efforts next week
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - While the rest of the public is trying to avoid frustrating long lines to find COVID-19 testing, state and local health leaders are ramping up testing efforts once again.
“As we’re going into more infections, we’re hearing more people getting infections, we really want to avoid what we saw in January,” said Dr. Melissa Viray of the Richmond-Henrico Health Districts.
More cases mean more stress on an already overburdened health care system.
Over the past two weeks, cases have increased by 65% in Richmond. Cases have jumped a whopping 159% jump in Henrico County.
Chesterfield, Hanover and Hopewell have all seen more cases too.
Hospitalizations are also up, on average, by seven percent.
New sub-variants, which are more transmissible, are driving the numbers, but they are causing less severe illnesses.
“This is kind of what we expected. We expected to see there would be waves that come through and then we would have to increase our mitigations and decrease our mitigations as they come through and as they taper off,” said Viray.
Locally, health departments are doing prep work now, anticipating increased demand for testing.
Richmond-Henrico Health Districts will add additional testing events starting next week at Broad Rock Community Center and Eastern Henrico Recreation Center. The district is also making sure area libraries have plenty of at-home tests for pickup.
“If you are having symptoms and you are not sure what they are, there’s enough COVID going around at this point that you should go ahead and get tested whether it’s at home or one of our upcoming community events,” said Viray.
The CDC says the metro Richmond area has low COVID-19 community levels at the moment. But local health leaders expect that to change this week or next week to increase to medium levels.
If that does happen, expect health leaders to encourage more mask-wearing while in public.
A spokesperson for Gov. Glenn Youngkin released a statement reading, “The governor continues to monitor on a daily basis ongoing Covid cases and trends. While we have recently seen an uptick in positivity, Covid-related hospitalizations and deaths remain at almost record lows. We have ready supplies throughout the Commonwealth for vaccines, tests and treatment. So far, over 7 million Virginians have received the vaccine. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get vaccinated. We will remain vigilant to ensure we keep cases down, Virginians safe, and Virginia open for business.”
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