Saturday, December 9, 2023

COVID-19 Case Numbers “Not a Reason for Panic,” Says Northam

Gov. Ralph Northam cautions Virginians against panicking over recent COVID-19 case numbers. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of the Office of Gov. Ralph S. Northam)

STATEWIDE — On Wednesday, Dec. 29, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 12,112 new COVID-19 cases, totaling 1,087,400 cases across the Commonwealth.

In response, Gov. Ralph Northam released a statement Wednesday saying that the “COVID[-19] case numbers are a reason for concern, but not a reason for panic.”

Northam said that with vaccines now available, people should be less concerned about the number of cases.

“One year ago, vaccines had just become available, so nearly no one had gotten a shot,” Northam said. “Today, more than 14 million shots have been given in Virginia. Only nine states have given more shots, and those states are all larger than Virginia. That’s good news, and it’s thanks to a lot of hard work by Virginians.”

Northam noted that worldwide data shows that symptoms are likely to be minor for vaccinated people who test positive.

The Governor also added that as the virus becomes endemic, it’s now time to study not just the number of cases, but the severity of symptoms and the number of people going to the hospital.

“The data are clear: Nearly everyone going to the hospital with COVID[-19] is unvaccinated,” he said. “This is entirely avoidable, if everyone gets their shots. This is really important, because people working in hospitals are exhausted—nurses, doctors, and everyone. They have worked tirelessly for months to care for people who have gotten sick. Please go to the hospital only if you believe you really need to. It’s not fair to put even more pressure on hospital workers to care for people whose sickness is avoidable.”

Northam noted that there are steps to take to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including staying away from people who have not gotten their shots, wearing masks around others and getting the booster shot. Northam said that those with children under the age of five should get them vaccinated.

Northam said that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are widely available and rapid antigen test kits are becoming more available each day.

  • To learn more or to schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, contact your healthcare provider or visit the website for Vaccinate Virginia.
  • For more information regarding current vaccinations for COVID-19, visit the website for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • To find the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), click here.
  • To see the current COVID-19 map courtesy of Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, click here.

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