VDH urges people with mild COVID-19 cases, other non-serious illnesses to avoid emergency room trips as omicron cases surge

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Posted at 12:13 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 12:13:14-05

The Virginia Department of Health released their daily updated numbers involving COVID-19 cases within the state.

According to their website, there are now 1,100,900 total cases, 796,132 of which are confirmed and 304,768 are probable. There are 15,565 total COVID-19 related deaths, with 13,007 being confirmed and 2,558 being probable. The case numbers are up by 13,500 and deaths are up by 24 since Wednesday.

A total of 11,179,014 COVID-19 PCR tests have now been given in Virginia.

As of Thursday Virginia has given a total of 13,957,953 COVID-19 vaccines. That is 45,582 statewide doses given in a day. The table below gives more information about local vaccine distribution.

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association also updated their numbers. As of Wednesday, there are 1,923 people currently being hospitalized, confirmed with COVID-19. There are 178 people receiving inpatient hospital care whose test results are still pending. Combined, there are a total of 2,101 being hospitalized for coronavirus related illness.

418 confirmed positive patients, and those whose test results are pending, are currently hospitalized in the ICU.

78,065 patients who have been hospitalized for coronavirus have been discharged.

As the omicron variant spreads and COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase, Virginia public health officials and hospital leaders are urging individuals with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 cases, or other non-serious illnesses, to avoid unnecessary trips to already-burdened hospital emergency departments.

People with severe COVID-19 symptoms, such as significant difficulty breathing, intense chest pain, severe weakness, or an elevated temperature that persists for days unabated are among those who should consider seeking emergency medical care for their condition.

The VDH said people should not visit the emergency department if the symptoms of their illness are mild to moderate — including a cough, sore throat, runny nose, or body aches — or simply for the purpose of having a COVID-19 test administered. Instead, they should contact a primary care provider.

"Virginia is in the midst of a fifth coronavirus surge since the pandemic began last year," the VDH said in a release. "The peak of this latest surge may not arrive until several weeks after the holiday season concludes, making it likely that its true impact on public health and the health care delivery system is yet to be fully felt."

The VDH is also urging the public to get vaccinated in order to avoid serious illness, saying despite a surge in hospitalizations this month, numbers remain below the peak hospitalization numbers Virginia encountered this time last year. This is in "large part" due to the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines, according to the VDH.

The majority of patients currently hospitalized in Virginia for COVID-19 care are unvaccinated.

Here's the breakdown of COVID-19 case and vaccine information for local areas: