Virginia COVID-19 hospitalizations slightly rise after plateau


RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — After vaccines started rolling out in Virginia, the state reported a steep decline in hospitalizations for COVID-19, but hospitalization rates stalled late March and have slowly increased into April.

While the climb is not as drastic as previous increases, it is prompting the Virginia hospital community to remind people to be vigilant.

3,152 Virginians were hospitalized Jan. 18, an all-time high, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association 7-day moving average.

Hospitalizations decreased sharply to 997 March 26, but rose to 1,077 on Wednesday.

“They have picked up ever so slightly, but I would say right now they are still fairly in range,” Julian Walker with VHHA said.

Walker, vice president for VHHA communications, suspects pandemic fatigue for social restrictions, closer social contact in warmer weather and other factors may contribute to why hospitalizations are not decreasing further.

“I don’t think that there’s any expectation that you’ll never have any hospitalizations associated with COVID-19,” he said.

With more contagious viral variants spreading, Walker expressed how vaccines prevent serious symptomatic illness, and the need to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

Thanks to evolving COVID-19 treatments, Walker said the average length of a Virginia hospital stay is now 10 days, opposed to nearly 14 days one year ago.

The hospitalization trends, however, paint an unclear picture when regular visitation limitations are eased.

“It’s going to depend ultimately what is best for the health and safety of both, patients who are in the facility, as well as staff,” Walker said.

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