PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — As COVID-19 cases creep up in Virginia, some people are going back to wearing masks in public spaces while others never stopped.
“Stay safe, wear a mask, wash up when I get home.” That’s what Molly Corder told 10 On Your Side. Corder does her best to protect herself from the highly contagious BA-4 and BA-5 variants that are now causing surges in some states.
Virginia’s 7-day average for new cases is now more than 3,000 with an average of 12 deaths a day and about 650 hospitalizations.
“I think it’s a cause for concern. I don’t think it’s a cause for panic,” said Virginia Department of Health specialist, Dr. Brooke Rossheim.
Dr. Rossheim says while you may not be able to prevent getting COVID, we can prevent most hospitalizations and deaths by getting vaccinated and boosted.
It’s the unvaccinated that Rossheim worries about.
“That’s where your risk is notably higher for getting infected and also for having worse outcomes,” he said.
Rossheim told WAVY that these people, he said, should not wait any longer as cases are expected to rise in the coming weeks.
Meantime, some states are again urging residents to mask up. VDH recommends checking your community’s COVID-19 level. Hampton Roads is mostly green, or low-spread right now, in which case Rossheim said you can wear a mask if you want to. Virginia Beach and Chesapeake are in yellow. That’s when he says you may want to consult your doctor.
If your city goes to red, masks are advised for all.
Virginians who have not been fully vaccinated, or are eligible for booster doses, can visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (877) 829-4682 to find nearby vaccination clinics.
Those seeking to find or schedule a testing appointment can visit vase.vdh.virginia.gov/testingappointment.