COVID-19 cases ‘way up’ in county

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 17, 2021

The Lawrence County Health Department says it has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in the county.

“It’s way up,” director Georgia Dillon said. Today we have six cases, yesterday we had 13 and the day before that, seven.”

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Dillon said, about a month ago, before the spike, they were averaging one to two cases a day.

She attributes the rise to the Delta variant of the virus, which is more transmissible. She said there has been testing for it in the county and both West Virginia and Kentucky have had cases of it in the Tri-State area.

“We have to assume it’s that,” she said. “It’s really affecting children and young people. I’m, afraid this is going to get more transmissible and people will get this again.”

Dillon said the department is continuing to host vaccine clinics, such as one at the Lawrence County Fair on Friday, in which the department was handing out $50 gift cards as an incentive to be vaccinated.

“At least we can get them that first dose,” Dillon said. “That’s better than no vaccine at all.”

Currently, the county has a 21 percent vaccination rate. Dillon said, while this is low, the actual figure may not be as severe. She said the figure only counts those who were vaccinated in the county, and does not take into account those who received shots from Cabell Huntington Hospital, the VA clinic in Huntington or other providers in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Dillon said those figures were not readily available to the department, but she knows that there have been “thousands” from Lawrence County that get a vaccine out of state.

Dillon said the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been shown to be effective against the Delta variant.

According to a post on the department’s website on Thursday, during the month of June, there were a total of 65 positive cases, 51 hospitalizations and one death.

“For the first 14 days of July, we’ve seen 80 new positive cases with 44 hospitalizations,” the post read. “Please do what you can to stop the spread of this virus. If you are sick, please stay home and away from others except to seek medical care.”

The department recommends prevention measures, including wearing a mask, social distancing of six feet and hand washing.
Dillon, who received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine in December, said she is still wearing a mask in public.

“You just don’t know who has been vaccinated or not,” she said.

COVID-19 cases are also on the rise across Ohio, with the state department of health reporting 547 new cases on Thursday. Department officials have said the timing of the news cases correlates with public gathering over the Fourth of July holiday.

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