COVID cases on the rise

New data from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) suggests a rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide. However, health officials say the current numbers do not constitute an outbreak of the same magnitude as in 2020.

The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in Virginia has experienced a significant increase over the past month, more than doubling in comparison.

According to data from the VDH, it is currently up approximately 32% from last week.

“Virginia is currently seeing an uptick in COVID-19 trends, such as hospital admissions, hospital beds in use, diagnosed COVID-19 in our Emergency Departments and concentrations in wastewater,” said Logan Anderson, a VDH spokesperson.

According to the VDH, 2.17 percent of emergency room visits were diagnosed for COVID-19 in the last week of August. That’s 27.6 percent higher than the previous week.

Those numbers equate to over 50 percent of hospital admissions for the same week.

VDH data for Lunenburg County indicates there were 11 new hospital admissions confirmed last week, making that a 120 percent increase from the week prior.

Nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 12,000 individuals were hospitalized with COVID-19 during the week ending Aug. 12, indicating an approximately 22% surge compared to the previous week.

While the number of case are on the rise, health officials are working to release a booster vaccine to target XBB.1.5, which was responsible for less than 5% of new coronavirus infections in recent weeks.

Officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration anticipate the rollout of the shots to commence in mid-September.

Even with the new booster set to be released this month, most Americans have some sort of protection against COVID-19.

According to the Biden administration, approximately 97% of Americans aged 16 and above have acquired COVID-19 immunity through vaccination, previous infection, or a combination of both.

The CDC says the Moderna, Pfizer, and Novavax shots require authorization from the FDA. Following that, the CDC’s committee of vaccine experts will meet to determine the eligibility criteria for receiving the shots.