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As Virginia sets new COVID infection record, ER doc says holidays will test Virginians

Posted at 5:48 PM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-25 18:12:30-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Central Virginia emergency room physician has issued a warning ahead of Christmas and New Year's Eve following a surge of coronavirus cases after Thanksgiving.

Dr. Carlton Stadler serves as a member of the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians and works in a Richmond-area ER.

He shared a heartbreaking story about the impacts of the COVID-19 virus on families.

“Yes, we did see an actual, dramatic increase in the number of patients that we saw — patients from inter-connected families because they didn’t heed those warnings,” Dr. Stadler explained. “There have been a couple of cases where we’ve had entire families occupying hospital beds or intensive care units.”

On Christmas Eve, the Virginia Department of Health reported the most new infections in a single day at 4,782.

That’s about 200 more cases than were reported on Wednesday, which was also a record high.

Health experts, like Stadler, feared the holidays would also increase the spread of the disease substantially.

“This holiday is really the big test. It’s the test where there’s hope on the horizon, but there’s still so much disease and the numbers are increasing dramatically,” he stated.

Stadler received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. Both he and his wife, who is also a healthcare professional, will need a second dose to be fully vaccinated against the virus.

“[The vaccine] tells me that I’m not going to die from this disease and that’s something every emergency room physician has on their minds,” Stadler said.

Since the pandemic started, many frontline workers feared they would become infected with the disease and spread it to loved ones.

“The only way we are going to stop this disease is getting people vaccinated or people getting COVID-19, but that’s not a good alternative,” Stadler explained.

He urged families to do their research about the virus from trusted and tested sources. Trusting the science will prevent each of us from dying from this disease, Stadler said.

Washing your hands, socially distancing yourself from others, and wearing a face-covering will help stop the spread.

Stadler recommended wearing a mask indoors, especially when social-distancing is difficult.

The Richmond City Health District posted tips about the best practices to keep your family safe during the holidays.

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Large gatherings, especially indoors, are considered unsafe this year.

That includes potlucks and traveling to places with crowds, such as stores, parades, running events, and sports.