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COVID-19 hospitalizations go down at Sentara RMH

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:33 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - This time last month, Sentara RMH was caring for over 60 COVID-19 inpatients, but over the last few weeks, those cases are going down.

As of Tuesday morning, Sentara RMH reports 38 COVID-19 inpatients, accounting for 19% of the hospital’s total inpatients.

Dr. Russ Ford, Lead Hospitalist at Sentara RMH, says nine of those people are fully vaccinated, but all are between 65 years old and nearly 90 years old.

All of those inpatients have serious underlying conditions. He says six people have chronic kidney disease or are on dialysis, two people have emphysema and one person has cancer.

He says the rest of COVID-19 inpatients are unvaccinated.

“The unvaccinated folks are across the spectrum from their 30s to 80s,” Dr. Ford said. “We’re still recommending people get vaccinated.”

Dr. Ford says he has heard that some patients have not gotten their vaccine yet, because they thought they had natural immunity after they already had the virus once.

“The natural immunity doesn’t seem to last, or it may not be active against different variants of the virus,” Dr. Ford said. “Even though people have had an infection, we’re still recommending that they get vaccinated afterward.”

He says staff working in the COVID-19 unit hope these numbers keep coming down, but there is uncertainty with the holiday season approaching.

“Last winter, right after Thanksgiving, we saw some sporadic cases, and then Christmas, New Years, and the rest of January [Sentara RMH] was really inundated, so that is a concern,” Dr. Ford said.

He urges everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu shot as soon as possible.

“Some people are also postulating that because there wasn’t much of a flu season last year with people staying at home, socially distancing, that this season may be worse, so we ask that people get their influenza vaccine to try and help with that.”

For more information on COVID-19 cases at Sentara RMH, click here.

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