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Bad weather may affect vaccine clinic

ELKINS — With possible hazardous weather conditions threatening the area for the next several days, officials are saying this week’s mass vaccination clinic, slated for Thursday at the Phil Gainer Community Center, may be affected.

A winter weather watch is currently in place for Elkins that begins today at 7 p.m. and runs until Friday at 7 a.m. The forecast is predicting anywhere from six to 12 inches of snow during that time.

“They’re saying some time on Thursday there will be some sleet mixed in with the snow and when that freezes it’s going to turn into ice,” said Cindy Hart, director of Emergency Management in Randolph County. “Then when it snows over top of that it’s going to make the powerlines and trees heavy, which could cause both of them to come down.”

Hart said citizens should try to prepare in advance for what mother nature may bring in the next couple of days.

“The state is expecting some troublesome weather and they are asking to alert the shelters and the volunteers of the impending weather to put them on alert status,” said Hart. “If the storm does hit us we may end up with power outages and down trees. So if you have generators, make sure you have plenty of fuel. Also make sure you check on the elderly and their needs are being met.”

With snowy weather already causing havoc in other parts of the United States, Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist, said she’s already been told there may be delays with this week’s shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.

“We were warned that our vaccines for our clinics this week were not at the hub in Morgantown on Tuesday,” said Woodrum. “Our vaccination clinic is scheduled for Thursday and is for boost doses and prime doses.

“Calls are being made for appointments, but people should be alerted that we may have to cancel. If we do have to reschedule, it’s OK, the vaccinations have to wait at least four weeks for Moderna and at least three weeks for Pfizer. But you can give the boost doses as soon as possible, when you can after that. Protection will still be given.”

Woodrum said another large shipment of the COVID-19 vaccines will also be available in Elkins the following week.

“We will have even more (vaccines) to give next week,” she said. “I’m not sure if we will try to cram it all into one day, if this week’s is canceled, because it will be well over 1,000 doses.”

She noted all the vaccinations are done by appointment only and said officials are receiving a list of people to call for those slots.

“We have lists from the state and the Everbridge system,” Woodrum. “They are not making the appointments by the system yet, but they are sending us the lists and that’s what our calls are being made from. If people have registered on the state system, please know that we are now using those lists to make the appointments. And it takes a long time to work down the lists because we have a lot of over 65 in this state.”

The good news this week is that the number of active cases in Randolph County has returned to double digits after a long stretch of being at least 100 cases. As of Tuesday there were 57 active cases in the county, down from last week’s mark of 109. Just a month ago those numbers were above 200.

“I know the active cases and hospitalizations are down, but it’s still out there and we have been told that the mutated strain is now in every state,” said Woodrum. “So we still have to take care.”

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