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Virginia not pushing COVID-19 panic button in Southwest Virginia

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard –

It’s Southwest Virginia now in the COVID-19 positive test barrel, and the response at the state level is showing some signs of maturity.

“This isn’t going to be solved with enforcement,” Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said in an interview after Gov. Ralph Northam provided a quick COVID-19 data and response update Wednesday.

Oliver acknowledged that, looking at the recent uptick in cases in Southwest Virginia, “if you look at that trend line, you see that it really represents a lag in the Southwest catching up with coronavirus.”

This, times a million.

Just as it was Northern Virginia’s turn back in May, and then it was Hampton Roads’ turn in the summer.

Now it’s Southwest’s turn.

You can try to suppress an airborne virus ‘til the cows come home, but eventually, the cows are going to come home.

Southwest Virginia is currently averaging 354.7 new positive COVID-19 tests per day over the past week, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The impact is being felt in some hospitals in the region, according to published reports, though of note the VDH dashboard has the number of beds in use in Southwest Virginia today at 2,231, 77.3 percent of the region’s 2,888-bed capacity, and in line with usage dating back to the late spring.

The pandemic response was, at least initially, about keeping the strain off hospitals.

That seems to be what we’re hearing in terms of the response from Oliver about the current situation in Southwest Virginia.

Somebody in a position of authority gets it.

Only took seven months, give or take two weeks.

Story by Chris Graham