RICHMOND, Va. (ABC/WRIC) — Virginia health officials are investigating an alarming uptick in COVID-19 deaths in recent months.
In early July, Virginia averaged two COVID deaths per day; however, that number has jumped to 44. Data from the Virginia Department of Health show this upward trend began in September.
Dr. Julia Murphy of the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Epidemiology COVID-19 Response team told WVEC that there is usually a lag in mortality reporting, but officials are concerned about the trend.
“One we can see a lag so this may be an artifact of reporting, but two we are concerned about this trend, if it is in fact a real trend,” she said. “We’re actively assessing this to see which it seems to be. Does it seem to be more an artifact of delayed mortality reporting and will start to decline over time as we’re seeing nationally, or is it in fact an increasing trend, and if so – why,” Dr. Murphy said.
This trend comes as Governor Northam boasts a high vaccination rate across the Commonwealth. He says Virginia has the highest vaccination numbers in the south, with more than 80% of adults having at least one shot.
”Together, we can end this pandemic,” Northam wrote in a tweet. However, health officials are still urging people to get the shot, as unvaccinated people are ending up in the hospital with more severe cases.