State Watch

Virginia health department, health care association urge people with mild COVID-19 cases avoid ER


Virginia public health leaders urged residents with mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases to avoid making emergency hospital visits as the state sees a surge of coronavirus infections.

The Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association said that people who have asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 cases or other nonserious illnesses often can recover at home or seek primary treatment as needed, avoiding the need to go to the hospital.

The Virginia public health leaders noted that the increase of people with milder cases of COVID-19 seeking emergency hospital care were making it more difficult to treat patients who had more serious forms of COVID-19 and appropriately allocate resources to other patients who needed that care.

According to the two agencies, “daily COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen from 922 on Dec. 1 to 2,101 as of today (Dec. 30), a 128 percent increase in that time.”

They said it is difficult for the state to assess the extent of how pervasive and serious this wave may be, as this latest omicron surge may not peak for several weeks.

Amid the dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations, public health leaders are also urging people to get vaccinated, including receiving their booster shots if they are eligible.

“More than 15,000 Virginians have died from COVID-19 during the course of this pandemic, and thousands have been hospitalized,” State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver said in a statement. 

“The best defense against serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. If you have not gotten vaccinated or boosted and are eligible, please do so now. Do it for yourself, your family, and your community, including the health care workers we depend on to be there when we truly need emergency care,” Oliver added.

Tags COVID-19 COVID-19 hospitalizations COVID-19 variants omicron Omicron variant Virginia
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