PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — As the holiday break wraps up and many people in Hampton Roads prepare to get back to work and school, there’s one thing that’s top of mind: COVID-19 testing.
Many health officials are warning about the high transmissible omicron variant that is causing record-breaking new cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.
More than 60,000 cases were reported in the last week of 2021 as omicron spread. And that’s an undercount of actual virus levels due to a shortage of tests/testing capacity and “mild” and asymptomatic cases that are not reported to VDH.
In fact, Virginia reported 17,618 new cases on December 31 which is a one-day record of new cases.
A good metric to look at is the number of tests coming back positive which was about 21.5% statewide as 2021 wrapped up. That’s more than double testing percentages with the delta wave, which shows just how widespread and contagious the omicron variant is.
It is able to infect vaccinated (even boosted) people, but data shows unvaccinated people are much more likely to be infected and are overwhelmingly more likely to get seriously sick and die.
But local health officials are saying don’t just take a test just to take one as the high demand is proving to be a bit overwhelming.
“So really take an assessment on why you need the test,” said Suzanne Trotter, the co-lead of VDH’s statewide testing team. “Are you concerned about your loved ones? Are you with immunocompromised people? Have you been exposed? Will you expose others?”
Last Friday, lines were long at Military Circle Mall as state health officials coordinated some last-minute testing. The site’s vaccine clinic will be closed on Monday, January 3, 2022, but they will offer testing from 2 – 6 p.m.
Testing will continue to be on Mondays from 2-6 p.m. as long as tests are available.
Vaccination efforts will resume in the new year with new hours. Starting January 4, the clinic will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Other upcoming clinics:
- Norfolk church hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Jan. 9
- Chesapeake Health Department releases January schedule for COVID testing, vaccines
- Portsmouth health department hosting post-Christmas COVID vaccine, testing clinics
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.