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Doctors see surge in COVID cases ahead of Christmas

Covid testing
Posted at 6:00 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 18:13:17-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Waker Houser spent his Wednesday afternoon waiting in a line with two dozen others outside of a TestHere location on Forest Avenue.

The bartender’s colleague recently was diagnosed with coronavirus.

“I just so happen not to be feeling my best so I'm here to check it out before I go back to work," Houser said.

Just two weeks ago, TestHere recorded 10 positive COVID-19 cases a day. Now, about 70 patients each day receive a positive diagnosis.

Dr. Bo Vaughan serves as medical director for Clinical Research Partners in Henrico County. Since February, his team has studied and administered monoclonal antibodies for those not sick enough to warrant admission to the hospital.

“If you look at the trends it certainly does look like a rollercoaster. We’ve seen surge upon surge,” Vaughan explained. “Some people say, ‘Man, I wish I got the vaccine now that I have it. I feel absolutely horrible.’”

Just days before the Christmas holiday, the Virginia Department of Health is reporting nearly nine percent of Virginians who are getting tested see a positive result.

“For comparison's sake, around the week around Thanksgiving it was closer to five percent positivity,” said Cat Long, Richmond-Henrico Health District spokesperson.

The experts worry the most about those who are not protected against the virus.

“We do expect to see an increase which to some degree is normal as long as the increase is among folks are vaccinated who will experience mild illness,” Long stated.

However, Dr. Vaughan remained optimistic about the future of beating and treating this virus.

“We have a new oral agent we hope to have available called PAXLOVID that has shown incredible efficacy of keeping people out of the hospital and preventing death — sometime around 80% is what the trials have shown,” he explained.

Other new drugs targeted at treating the immunocompromised are either waiting for emergency approval or to be shipped out to doctors.

Meanwhile, Houser hoped he can soon return to work healthy.

“It’s important we are all above board,” he said. “No one is going back to work without a negative test.”