RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in Virginia. 

Data from the the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) shows that over the past week, there was an average of 856 new COVID-19 cases in Virginia per day. That’s an increase of 148% in the last month.

“We are seeing an increase, but it’s still very low compared to what we experienced in our previous surges,” said Dr. Michelle Doll, System Hospital Epidemiologist at VCU Health. “For the last couple of weeks, my pulmonary critical care colleagues have noted that they are now again taking care of these desperately ill patients in the ICU with COVID-19 pneumonia.”

Doll says late summer surges are common. Plus, she adds that although kids returning to school could be partly to blame, it’s too early to tell for sure.

“I think there are a lot of factors at play, and we don’t have any really good sense of why we are seeing that little increase,” Doll said.

According to Doll, because Virginia is in a better spot compared to surges caused by the Delta and Omicron variants, it’s not time to panic — but people should take precautions. 

“Whenever you are accessing healthcare, especially if you are in that vulnerable patient group, consider putting the mask back on,” said Doll. “And it is always okay to ask your providers to do the same.”

Virginia is not alone in seeing a rise in COVID activity. The CDC says 26 states saw a substantial spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations last week.