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COVID-19 cases on the rise in Virginia as new variants emerge

Despite the low threat level, Virginia is witnessing a gradual increase in COVID-19 emergency room visits over the past month. The World Health Organization is also monitoring the emergence of new COVID variants that are contributing to rising case numbers across the country.

On a recent Wednesday morning, the Richmond Henrico Health District held its busiest mobile COVID testing event in recent memory. Dylan Knight, the COVID testing coordinator for RHHD, observed significant lines and even ran out of testing supplies during the event at the Eastern Henrico Rec Center. Knight administered numerous rapid COVID tests and distributed 200 at-home test kits along with supplies like N95 masks.

As the region enters flu season and witnesses a rise in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, along with the spread of new COVID variants, health officials anticipate a challenging few months ahead. Dylan Knight advises people to wear masks when sharing air with others and to get updated COVID shots in the fall.

Despite a significant portion of the population being vaccinated, COVID-19 remains a dangerous disease with potential long-term health impacts. Knight, who is 25 years old, shared his own experience, emphasizing the need for post-COVID care. He stated that after contracting COVID-19, he had to consult cardiologists, pulmonologists, and endocrinologists, which he didn’t require before the illness.

Weekly COVID testing events are being held at the Eastern Henrico Rec Center on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Testing is also available at the Henrico Arms Apartments on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and at Southside Plaza on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in front of the WIC office.

Additionally, on Thursdays, the RHHD collaborates with Henrico Mental Health Services to address the opioid crisis. Residents can obtain Narcan kits and learn how to use them at the event held at Henrico Arms Apartments. So far this year, RHHD reports distributing 553 Narcan kits and training 211 citizens to use them between January 1 and June 30.

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