By Taylor Boyd
As COVID-19 cases increase following holiday celebrations, health officials continue to tout the need for widespread vaccination as the key to curbing the rising rates.
Gov. Ralph Northam said even as the Omicron variant spreads across Virginia, vaccinations are helping to keep people safe.
“Data from around the world show that if people have gotten vaccinated, and then get COVID, then symptoms are likely to be minor. That’s how the vaccines are designed to work, and it’s more good news,” he said.
More than 14 million vaccines have been given in Virginia. Only nine states with larger populations have given more.
Current data shows that nearly everyone hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Similarity, the majority of those who die from the virus also are unvaccinated.
“This is entirely avoidable, if everyone gets their shots,” Northam said, and added the vaccine is particularly important because healthcare workers are exhausted and overworked from caring for those who have gotten sick. He also advised people to only go to the hospital if they believe they really need to.
“It’s not fair to put even more pressure on hospital workers to care for people whose sickness is avoidable,” he said.
To stay safe, Northam suggests staying away from the unvaccinated or those who have recently been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Other suggestions include getting a booster shot, vaccinating children ages five and above, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.
Appointments to get a vaccine can be made at the Patrick County Health Department, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and other pharmacies.
Rapid tests are available at most drug stores and pharmacies.
As of December 30, 40.1 percent of the population, or 7,062 people, have been fully vaccinated in Patrick County; 45.2 percent of the population has received at least one dose, and 46.5 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated.
In Henry County, 47.7 percent of the population, or 24,120 people, has been fully vaccinated; 54.2 percent of the population has received at least one dose, and 55.8 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated.
In the City of Martinsville, 54.8 percent of the population, or 6,883 people, are fully vaccinated; 61.2 percent of the population has received at least one dose, and 69.1 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated.
As of Thursday, December 30 information from the Virginia Department of Health suggested there are 7,687 cases, with 487 hospitalizations, and 211 deaths in Henry County.
In Patrick County, 2,537 cases with 139 hospitalized, and 72 dead from the COVID-19 virus were reported by the VDH.
In Martinsville, 2,373 cases were reported, with 190 hospitalized, and 100 dead, the data showed.
The data also suggests there are 1,100,900 cases in the state, with 41,592 hospitalized, and 15,565 dead from the COVID-19 virus. Information from the CDC suggested there are 53,275,589 cases in the United States and 818,444 dead from coronavirus.
Data also suggests that as of December 30, 5,763,240 Virginians have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
For more tips on how to stay safe, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.