COVID-19 cases in the Blue Ridge Health District have jumped 20% in the past three months and show no signs of slowing down.
So far this month, the district has reported 978 cases, 24 new hospitalizations and five deaths.
Due to the increase in the number of cases, fueled by the delta variant of the coronavirus, the health district is once again prioritizing case investigations, adding staff and figuring out how to meet the spectrum of demands, from testing to vaccinations.
“The numbers themselves have been taxed,” said Ryan McKay, COVID-19 incident commander for the health district.
August was the fourth month of the pandemic in terms of number of cases, with the health district reporting 1,695 new cases. Meanwhile, another 53 people were hospitalized and five people died. Most of the new cases are in people under the age of 40 and those who are not vaccinated, according to the district.
McKay said the health district had added 15 staff to the case investigation team, but recent cases have resulted in closer contact than previous increases.
“300 to 400 close contacts [a day] happens most often, ”he said. “It really puts a strain on the system, compared to where we were a year ago, or even in February or March – our last big push – where the contact list was a lot smaller. So much has changed since then. “