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Health Officials: Richmond Will ‘Probably’ See COVID Spike Soon

doctor danny avula speaking at a podium in richmond city council chambers
FILE PHOTO: Dr. Danny Avula speaking at a recent COVID-19 press conference at Richmond City Hall. (Crixell Matthews/VPM)

Richmond health officials are continuing to warn of a potential spike in coronavirus cases as we head into the winter. 

Currently, Richmond is seeing an average of 25 new cases each day. New cases have trended downward over the last five days, but Dr. Danny Avula, who heads the Richmond City Health District, says the overall trend since early October has been upward. At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Avula said he expects to see bigger spikes heading into late November and December.

“I think many of the models were predicting another spike of illness towards the end of November into December,” he said. “It does appear that we are probably heading towards another peak.”

The percent of tests coming back positive has also trended upward over the last few weeks. Richmond’s percent positivity, a key metric for health officials, is currently at 3.6 percent.

Some good news is that cases in Central Virginia continue to be significantly lower than the state as a whole. The region is seeing an average of 126 new coronavirus cases each day, the lowest of any other region except North West Virginia. 

Regardless, Avula urged the public to continue taking precautions to slow the spread and limit the peak this winter. He said many right now are suffering from “COVID fatigue” and forgoing masks and social distancing or not taking an exposure seriously. 

“Individuals who may have had an exposure or may have mild symptoms continue to press on and to go to work or to show up at a social event, and so that invariably is leading to COVID clustering and outbreaks,” Avula said.