More than a third of Virginia’s health districts are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, health officials say.
Arlington and Fairfax counties as well as the city of Alexandria have all gone from low to medium COVID-19 community level, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mary Chamberlin, a public information officer for the Virginia Department of Health, is one person hit with a recent COVID infection.
Chamberlin has guided the community and reporters through every stage of the pandemic. But on April 21, she was hit with a crushing headache and fever.
She tested negative for COVID-19 and influenza, but the next day her symptoms persisted. This time, she had cold symptoms.
A couple of days later: no taste or smell. She then got tested again, and the results were different.
"This time, that second line came very quickly. I said, 'Oh dear. I have COVID,"' Chamberlin said.
Her husband had it too. Because of other medications they take, the couple
was not eligible for the highly effective anti-viral Paxlovid, but they did get a different one.
Chamberlin's personal experience with COVID-19 has made her sharpen her message to the public all the more.
She admits she made a mistake, and that she should have re-tested sooner within 24 to 48 hours after the first test.
Chamberlin said she is still recovering and taking a steroid medication for COVID-19 bronchitis.
"I can’t imagine not being vaccinated and having this hit me because I just know I would have been in the hospital," she said.
But she also wishes she’d made time to get the second booster.
Chamberlin said she was surprised to see the recent growth in COVID-19 cases.
University of Virginia's projections show the Omicron sub-variants now taking hold are even more transmissible and could drive a summer surge that would peak in
July. Experts expect deaths to be lower during this surge.
Chamberlin has since tested negative for COVID-19. Even so, she said she will be wearing a mask once she steps out into the community to play it safe.