New UVA model shows COVID cases, hospitalizations down in Commonwealth after mid-January spike

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 18:16:06-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The numbers at the beginning of the month showed nearly 17,000 COVID-19 cases a day. Then-Gov. Ralph Northam declared a limited state of emergency due to the spike.

"Omicron has just been so dang infectious. We had a lot of cases... we didn’t track it in terms of what we measure," said Bryan Lewis, a research professor with UVA's Biocomplexity Institute.

The good news now, says Lewis, is that we are on the decline for cases in the Hampton Roads region and in much of the Commonwealth.

"We do still need to be cautious. One of the reasons it's coming down is that we have gone through so many cases immunity built up," said Lewis.

UVA says cases of COVID-19, all Omicron in nature, declined in 22 health districts, including Hampton Roads last week. Hospitalizations also are decreasing in our area.

"The good news is we are down today just below 2,900 hospitalizations. We were over 3,900 hospitalizations earlier this month," said Virginia Health and Hospital Administration spokesperson,Julian Walker.

Lewis says even though there is a decline in cases, levels are still near record highs across the state and we are still at high community transmission levels, which may be due in part to fewer people getting vaccinated.

"We still need 10 to 15% of the of the population to get vaccine in them. Those out there that have two doses, they need a third. We are only at 40% of folks eligible that has received it," said Lewis.

UVA's latest model is predicting a steep decrease by April, with 65,000 fewer cases predicted if mitigation strategies remain. However, UVA says there could be another big surge by February 13 if people stop wearing their masks and refuse to get vaccinated.

"Very minimal increase in mask wearing, but we have seen more caution on that," said Lewis.

Lewis says the new stealth Omicron subvariant could play a role in a spike should it enter the Commonwealth.

For a look at the modeling and projections for UVA, click here.

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