NORFOLK, Va — Nationally and locally, medical experts are tracking a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The Virginia Department of Health said medical experts are seeing an increase in diagnosed COVID-19 cases in hospitals, and concentrations of the virus in two of the state's wastewater sewer sheds.
Sylvia D'Angelo lives in Newport News with her husband and said the two of them tested positive for COVID-19 after being sick for more than 2 weeks.
COVID-19 cases on the rise in several Hampton Roads cities
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"After we had been sick for so long I decided to find out what was wrong with us," explained D'Angelo. "I went to the ER, and I remember seeing some very sick people who looked like they had COVID-19. By the way, they were breathing very heavily."
Dr. Clarence Clarke is an emergency room physician for American Family Care in Suffolk. He said he has seen at least 50 positive cases of what he believes is the latest COVID-19 variant with some different symptoms compared to previous variants.
"We are seeing a lot of patients are coming in with symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea as well as your other respiratory type symptoms which are nasal congestion , sore throat and fatigue," explained Dr. Clarke who added that it is not just a rise in COVID-19 he's seeing.
"I started seeing more flu testing positive over the past two weeks. I had a few test positive yesterday and have had a few cases where they tested positive for both flu and COVID-19," said Dr. Clarke.
In the past few weeks, American Family Care has recommended that patients and staff mask up in an effort to stop the spread.
News 3 asked Dr. Clarke if there is a chance of returning to a mask mandate. He told us it's too soon to tell.
"I don't know that we are going to go back to mask mandates for all companies and all public settings," said Dr. Clarke. "I do think that those discussions will start to pick up once we see more and more cases, and more and more cases of people being out ill from school and work— I think it will force the discussion. Though I'm not sure which way it will go."
Medical experts like Dr. Clarke are recommending that people stay up to date with their flu shot and be on the lookout for the new COVID-19 variant vaccine coming out mid-September. Also if you are someone who is susceptible to viruses, doctors suggest making an appointment to review specific health needs as we head into fall and flu season.