RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Hospitalizations and coronavirus cases are surging at an alarming rate across Virginia, and doctors are pointing the finger at the highly contagious delta variant and unvaccinated people.
Since July, the average number of new daily cases has jumped 1,305%, from 228 cases to more than 3,000 per day. Additionally, hospitalizations have risen from 195 in early July to more than 2,100, which is a 1,005% increase.
These conditions are placing a significant strain on the Commonwealth’s health care delivery system, and it comes as the state braces for a looming fall COVID-19 surge.
In response to this, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) has launched a new 30-second campaign video to promote the vaccine. It emphasizes the importance of unvaccinated to Virginians to save lives and slow the spread of the deadly virus by getting the shot.
“Vaccines are free, federally approved, and proven to be highly effective in preventing infection and hospitalization,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “In addition to protecting yourself and the people around you, getting vaccinated is a way to honor the dedicated health care professionals across the Commonwealth who have bravely served on the frontlines of this pandemic for more than 18 months.”
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data shows that since Jan. 17, 2021, just 0.4% of fully vaccinated Virginians have had a breakthrough COVID-19 infection, 0.017% have been hospitalized, and 0.0038% have died from the virus.
A recent analysis from the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker also found that 98% of U.S. adults hospitalized for COVID-19 in June and July were unvaccinated.
According to the VHHA, Virginia hospitals are also experiencing increased demand for emergency department services for other acute medical needs and are providing care to Afghan refugees newly arriving in the United States.
Several Central Virginia hospitals are in “Stage Black,” meaning patients are diverted to other hospitals to even the load.