UVA researchers: Virginia could be turning a corner in COVID cases

Coronavirus tests
Posted at 4:18 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 18:15:20-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia appears to be on the back end of the most recent surge of COVID-19 which, driven by the omicron variant, saw record-setting numbers for cases and hospitalizations.

After weeks of record-setting COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations, researchers at the University of Virginia say the Commonwealth appears to have turned the corner.

"It seems like, across the board, I think the southwest is a little bit behind the NoVa and the eastern region," Brian Lewis, a researcher at UVA, said.

The seven-day average of new cases has gone from over 18,000 in mid-January to just over 9,000. Most of the state's health districts have a declining trajectory. However, 12 of those health districts are still seeing a surge in cases.

"While all the rest of the state was in surge a couple weeks back, they're going to be the final holdouts have some growth," Lewis said.

He added that because the spread was so rapid under the omicron variant, cases may have been undercounted. They are also paying close attention to hospitalization numbers which are trending down.

"We do have hospitals in our membership that are still seeing near records in terms of their overall case counts, even though statewide, the number of hospitalizations is on a downward trend," Walker said.

As for the future, UVA says Virginia could get below 2,000 cases per day by mid to late March. However, they say this number could pop back up in mid-February if mitigation measures are stopped.

"There still is some benefit, a fair amount of benefit to us, continuing to sort of exercise the levels of interaction that we're currently observing," Lewis said.

However, Lewis added that an unknown point is the emerging sub-variant of the omicron variant, called BA.2.

"It's not totally clear but it seems like it may have a slight transmissibility advantage," Lewis said.

While this subvariant is not confirmed in Virginia, Lewis said countries, where it's taken hold, have had their declining case rates plateau.

In the meantime, Lewis said that along with continued mitigation strategies, Virginians should consider getting vaccinated or boosted.

"It's been really the one thing that's cut the people out of the hospital," Lewis said.



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