Henrico County declares local emergency as COVID-19 cases rise

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County is reentering a local state of emergency as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations hit new records in Virginia. The spike caused by the omicron variant has many people scrambling for COVID tests.

The board of supervisors ratified the local emergency declaration at their meeting on Tuesday night. According to a release from the county, by declaring an emergency the county gains more flexibility to buy COVID-19 testing kits and other supplies.

The initial order was made Monday by county manager John Vithoulkas. Previously Henrico was under a local emergency related to the pandemic from March 13, 2020 to June 8, 2021.

According to Virginia Department of Health data, saw a huge increase in cases throughout the month of December. The first week of December there were 702 cases reported in the county, the last week of December there were 4,757 cases reported.

During the week of Jan. 2 Henrico County had 3,624 new cases of COVID-19.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that it isn’t just cases on the rise in Henrico but also hospitalizations. According to CDC data, 25% of Henrico County ICU beds were in use for COVID patients over the last seven days. The CDC says COVID patients amounted to almost 15% of total hospital bed usage in the county over the last seven days. ICU bed usage most recently spike in September and October.

The county stated in their release that the general government and school district were both seeing around three times more absences than typical for January.

The emergency declaration does not change county operations or services.

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