Health district director shares insight on next COVID-19 shot, increasing case count
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - You can’t help but notice more people are masking up these days, as COVID-19 cases are certainly on the rise.
Looking at numbers out of the Virginia Department of Health, you can see there definitely is a big jump compared to where we were at the beginning of the summer, though doctors say it’s not as bad as it looks.
There’s a new shot on the way that could help slow the increasing case count.
“If you’re going from 1% to 2%, it looks like a very steep upward increase. But really, again, you’re talking about a very small overall number of cases,” Director of the Richmond Henrico Health District Dr. Elaine Perry said.
Some perspective to keep in mind as we go through a late summer wave of COVID cases: Back at the end of May, Virginia averaged fewer than 200 cases a day. These days the average is around 850 a day, but that still keeps us in the low range when it comes to community levels from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“One of the key indicators for that is hospitalizations per 100,000. And we’re right about a little over five, so 5.6, 5.4 people hospitalized for 100,000, in this area. Anything 10 or below is considered low,” Perry said.
Masking is not mandatory in our area and people can still gather freely with one another.
“It’s just more individuals can make their own decisions and different organizations obviously can make their own decisions as well, if they have a particularly vulnerable population,” Perry said.
Dr. Perry says those in that vulnerable population, including older people or those with an underlying condition, can get a second bivalent shot if they’re worried about immunity waning, but everyone else has to wait for the new vaccine, which could be out in late September.
“We hope within a few weeks to months, having that updated booster, which will provide better protection against the variants that are circulating at this point,” Perry said.
The rollout process will look different though, as Dr. Perry says it is now commercialized.
“For some people, insurance will cover it. For some people, you know, based on financial capability, it will still be free. But it’s going to look more like the other vaccines that we get because the federal government is not buying all of them,” Perry said.
When that next dose is out, you can contact your healthcare provider to find the easiest way to get it. Dr. Perry says it will be a similar process to getting your flu shot.
Copyright 2023 WWBT. All rights reserved.