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VDH: Virginia omicron surge peaks, but COVID-19 transmission still high

Data shows three straight weeks of declining cases and transmission of COVID-19, but health leaders warn new infections are still at historically high levels.

NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia health officials say they’re confident the Commonwealth has seen the worst of the omicron variant surge of COVID-19.

"We seem to have peaked, we seem to be on the other side of this surge," said Dr. Julia Murphy with the Virginia Department of Health Office of Epidemiology. 

Data shows three straight weeks of declining cases and community transmission of COVID-19, but health leaders warned new infections are still at historically high levels.

"All of our localities and regions are still in high transmission categories," Murphy said.

COVID-19 testing positivity rates have dropped from 37% to 19% over the last month. While a significant improvement, current community transmission of the virus is still higher than it was during the peak of the delta variant.

Murphy said that means it's too early to let off the gas.

"We seem to be moving consistently in the right direction and I’m all for that, [but] let’s not put our guard down too quick," she said.

Murphy said that means getting vaccinations and booster shots, testing when sick, informing close contacts, masking in public indoor spaces, and following other public health measures.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 death reports have increased in recent weeks, likely correlated with a January peak of virus cases.

"There's a lag of deaths being reported because of the nature of the disease, the time it takes to investigate those cases, and the time it takes to process," she said.

VDH leaders said they're hopeful that by the end of February, COVID-19-related deaths reports will be consistently decreasing as well.

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