In addition, people are being forced indoors due to colder temperatures, which is another reason for the rise in infections. Noelle Bissell, district's health director, spoke out on December 13 at a meeting with local media.
Bissell stated that currently, 36 people are being treated for coronavirus in the region. This is an increase from the number of last week.
She explained that the case numbers are not enough to tell the entire story of COVID-19 infection in the region.
She stated that for each case reported, there are at least three to four cases.
The jump in cases in the area is occurring across the community and not just among school-aged children or college students.
The highly contagious COVID-19 omicron variant has yet to be detected in the New River Valley. However, it has been reported in Virginia's northwest. Bissell stated that she believes it is there.
Bissell stated that this follows the usual pattern in which viruses become more transmissible, but less deadly, as they mutate. It's likely to be everywhere right now. It's COVID so the same protection and prevention measures work."
She believes that COVID-19 will eventually be considered an endemic. This means it will always exist.
The FDA approved coronavirus vaccines recently for children aged 16-17 years old.
Bissell also encouraged pregnant women to get COVID-19 vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that only 30% of pregnant women have had a coronavirus vaccination.
Bissell stated that pregnant women with COVID face increased risks of having their baby infected.
She said that women who have COVID-19 and are pregnant have a 70% higher risk of dying than those who don't have it.
Bissell stated, "We must accept that COVID exists and that COVID won't disappear." "We need to continue to encourage people to do all they can to protect their loved ones. It is evident from the data. People who have not been vaccinated are most at risk of serious complications and even death.