Doctors call for Governor Northam to declare state of emergency amid COVID-19 case spikes

Posted at 10:29 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 22:52:40-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Doctors across Virginia are calling for help from Governor Northam. As the omicron variant spreads, hospital workers, nurses and doctors are feeling the brunt.

The Virginia College of Emergency Physicians is asking Governor Northam to declare a State of Emergency and provide resources.

"Since the Christmas Holiday, Emergency Rooms across the state have experienced a surge in arrivals. We’re seeing about 200% of the normal amount of patients that we would see in the emergency department," Dr. Trisha Anest, a board member for the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians toldcorona News 3's Leondra Head.

Doctor Anest, a local emergency room doctor says emergency rooms across Hampton Roads are seeing unprecedented numbers.

"2021 and 2020 have both delivered surge after surge. This is certainly the highest volume surge we have seen so far in the pandemic," Dr. Anest said.

The Virginia College of Emergency Room Physicians is now asking Governor Ralph Northam to help them with resources like accessing state disaster funding and federal dollars.

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

"The reason releasing more funding would be useful is because in order to address double the amount of patients coming through the doors, we need more nurses, more testing supplies, more PPE, more physician hours and all of that does cost money," Dr. Anest said.

Emergency rooms are also seeing a high volume of people for COVID-19 testing.

"Declaring a state of emergency will allow us to access some of those federal funds so we can mobilize all of these additional resources that our community needs right now during this surge," Dr. Anest said.

Governor Northam released a statement this week saying:

The COVID case numbers are a reason for concern, but not a reason for panic. It’s important to understand why. We have all studied the “number of cases for many months now, but this data point means something different today, compared to this time last year.

One year ago, vaccines had just become available, so nearly no one had gotten a shot. Today, more than 14 million shots have been given in Virginia. Only nine states have given more shots, and those states are all larger than Virginia. That’s good news, and it’s thanks to a lot of hard work by Virginians.

Vaccinations are keeping people safe, even as the omicron variant spreads. Data from around the world show that if people have gotten vaccinated, and then get COVID, then symptoms are likely to be minor. That’s how the vaccines are designed to work, and it’s more good news.

As the virus becomes endemic, it’s now time to study not only the number of cases, but also the severity of symptoms and the number of people going to the hospital.

Local emergency rooms are overwhelmed and recommend going to a VDH testing center or getting an at home COVID test.

Click here to view our COVID-19 vaccination guide