'It's the highest it's ever been;' Sentara sees 'unprecedented' numbers of COVID-19 patients

emergency hospital sign
Posted at 1:35 PM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 17:23:57-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Sentara hospitals in the Hampton Roads region issued a warning call Thursday, saying hospitalizations are reaching "unprecedented" levels as COVID-19 cases surge.

"On December 26, hospitalizations were around 200. This morning, they are above 600 and have tripled in a 10-day period. That is unprecedented," said Chief Executive Physician Dr. Jordan Asher.

The majority of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated, Asher said.

"Our emergency rooms are busier than they ever have been in history," he said Thursday morning.

The wait times are astronomical, and the emergency room, already taxed, is now overrun with people coming in just to get tested.

"Right now, if you think you have COVID, you likely have COVID," he said.

Sentara urges people to test at home or with a primary care provider.

"It is so infectious, even if you don’t get sick, the overall number of people is higher because of the sheer strength of the virus," Asher said.

Another concern — hospital staff are getting sick and are forced to stay home.

"Now we're in a situation where people caring for those in need are getting sick. That is an added problem on the situation," he said.

Asher also said the only treatment to fight the omicron variant effectively is an antibody injection called sotrovimab, and it's in short supply.

"[We're only receiving] 1,100 per week in Virginia. That is a small number for those who might need it," he said.

His advice is to stay home, get vaccinated, and do your part to stop this unparalleled spread.

"We're getting to the point where soon everyone will likely know someone who has COVID," Asher said.

You can see Sentara's hospital dashboard for those hospitalized with COVID-19 here.