COVID-19 concerns grow as 50 Virginia localities in ‘high transmission’

Outside of the UVA Medical Center (FILE)
Outside of the UVA Medical Center (FILE)(wvir)
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Fifty localities throughout Virginia currently have high COVID-19 transmission rates, and UVA Health says that this number could grow in the near future.

Charlottesville, Greene, Louisa, and Orange counties are just a few of the areas currently experiencing high transmission rates.

“At least half of the state is currently at a high level of of COVID transmission, so we should anticipate seeing a summertime surge of COVID,” said Doctor Costi Sifri with UVA Health. “It would be to your benefit to mask in areas where you’re indoors, if you’re in crowded places outdoors, or in any places where you are potentially sharing air with another individual.”

Dr. Sifri says that the BA.5 subvariant of omicron will only add to the spread.

“Predicting things is difficult, but the long and short of it is that I think we’re going to continue to see more and more communities that have high levels of transmission,” the doctor said.

With masking now optional in many places, Dr. Sifri sees he is seeing less of it.

“Masking is really the exception to the rule on most airplanes and in a lot of airports right now. I think that if you are in those situations, and you’re not wearing a mask, you should anticipate that you could be exposed to COVID,” he said.

People may be more relaxed because of high vaccination rates, but Dr. Sifri warns that just because you’re vaccinated, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be more careful.

“There’s growing evidence, most recently from a VA Veterans Administration study, suggesting that if you have multiple episodes of COVID, those consequences to your health may be compounded, and that there may be a further increase in chances for cardiovascular disease, the development of diabetes. and other issues, including long COVID,” Dr. Sifri said.

In areas of high transmission, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.

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