CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — How is Virginia doing compared to other states in dealing with COVID-19? 

10 On Your Side went to the Chesapeake Health Department to find Health Director Dr. Nancy Welch, who has been on Chesapeake’s front line reaching out to ease the COVID-19 fear. Phase 3 begins Wednesday, July 1.

“I do have concerns about that (the spikes of COVID-19 cases across America) because people are interpreting success as ‘We’re all done with this,’ but our data doesn’t show that, and you’ve already seen that.” 

Welch says people not wearing masks is one of the reasons why there are significant spikes across the nation. 

Here are the facts: Florida, Texas, Arizona, and other states reopened with positive COVID-19 cases still going up, and they are now forced to retreat and shut down again.  The warnings to wear masks and social distance were ignored by some.  Even North Carolina’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have been spiking.

Virginia, on the other hand, is improving for now. The increase in positive cases has leveled just below 6 percent.  That is down from about 13 percent.  

“We’ve done a marvelous job in Virginia,” Welch said. “I know there’s been some controversy, but if you look at our data, we have had the lowest increase in positive cases, and I think that is because we have had more controlled introduction (of reopening Virginia).”

While interviewing Welch, Chesapeake resident Steven Butler showed up and expressed frustration that he can’t find a place to get a COVID-19 test.

“I am concerned the last two to three months, I’ve been trying to get the test for all different types of reasons.” 

Giving more residents COVID-19 tests — that is why Welch and others go into the Chesapeake community like they did June 18 at The Mount Church to give free COVID-19 tests. She hopes Virginia won’t get snared in the same trap of complacency while fighting COVID-19.

“As we gradually reopen, we can’t forget about the exact protective measures that have done just what they are supposed to do: protect us,” she said. 

Those who ignored warnings past in other states are now forced to dial back bars, restaurants, and night clubs again. That is obviously not a good sign; when you reopen, you want to remain open.  

In the end, the masks and social distancing Welch compares to a traffic light, 

“A traffic light is something we have that we have all accepted in our country whereby we all don’t drive by our own free will.  We drive for the protection of everyone, and that’s why we have to wear masks, and social distance for the protection of everyone,” she said.

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