Local health district leader pushes need for social distancing, masks

ROANOKE, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health gave an update Tuesday about COVID-19 testing and social distancing efforts in the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts.

The districts’ director of communicable disease control, Dr. Molly O’Dell, said there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to social distancing and properly wearing face coverings.

O’Dell said that everyone needs to wear a face covering in public when they can’t stay a safe distance away from others. However, that does not mean the public should wear medical grade face masks, such as an N95 mask.

O’Dell said she’s seen people like truck drivers wearing them, when they should be saved for health care workers or first responders.

“Could we be doing better? Yes. Absolutely. That’s why we all need to be good citizens and be looking at what’s going on in our neighborhoods,” said O’Dell.

O’Dell added that the districts have seemed to reach a plateau in the number of new cases of COVID-19, but that’s not actually the case as she said we’re nowhere near the tip of the iceberg in terms of total coronavirus cases.

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