It seems like everyone has COVID-19 right now, and Gov. Ralph Northam made a final COVID-briefing on Monday afternoon to issue a limited 30-day order to expand the number of available hospital beds, increase staffing capacity at hospitals and nursing homes, and allow public health agencies greater flexibility in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Healthcare workers have always burnt the worst of this pandemic, and they are owed our utmost respect.

Stories always spread of healthcare workers being recognized for their efforts, but how about instead of treating a nurse to a lunch, we take action to prevent oneself from needing their care to begin with?

During Northam’s briefing, he mentioned that the start of this wave started around Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is when I, myself had COVID-19.

Sure, I know many who say well, if you’re vaccinated and you still ended up with COVID-19, then why should I get the vaccine?

But, I also didn’t end up in the hospital like the over 40,000 Virginians who have ended up hospitalized since March of 2020.

A spike in recent hospitalizations has caused Sentara to postpone all hospital-based non-emergent surgeries, procedures and diagnostic testing.

Sentara hospitals are currently treating more COVID-19 patients than ever before.

When I had COVID-19, I went to Velocity, a walk-in urgent care, and asked for a test because I had developed a fever the evening before. I didn’t rush to the ER when my fever began to develop, nor when I sat at home feeling like crud during my quarantine. I took a Tylenol and went to sleep.

Lately, I’ve seen people struggle to find availability to make appointments for rapid testing at urgent cares and pharmacies or find at-home test kits.

At a recent media briefing, Dr. Jordan Asher, Chief Physician Executive with Sentara said, “If you think you have COVID, you likely have COVID.”

When my husband and I came down with COVID-19, I knew immediately we likely had it.

Sentara officials, other health experts, the governor and others say time and time again that more than 90% of the patients that they’re admitting to hospitals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have been unvaccinated.

I’m not saying to let COVID-19 dictate your life. I’m glad that we’re not in stay-at-home orders anymore and trying to learn how to live with COVID-19. It’s not going to go anywhere.

But, I still think we can do what we can to help.

Ashley Conner is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at