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State COVID numbers on the rise again in state

ELKINS — With COVID-19 numbers back on the rise in West Virginia, local health officials are urging residents to take precautions and to get vaccinated if they are eligible to do so.

West Virginia had a reported total of 5,214 active coronavirus cases on March 15. After several weeks of steady decline, the state announced a total of 5,600 active coronavirus cases on Monday.

“Numbers are going up both in the state and in our area,” Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist, told The Inter-Mountain Wednesday. “Everybody needs to take strict precautions so that we can continue to open things up. We have to be careful to not get back to the closing-down point again.”

Woodrum said everyone would get vaccinated, most of the issues currently resurfacing would be eliminated.

“The people who are causing those to be quarantined are those who are not taking the vaccine,” Woodrum said. “So if you want to be able to go out and not put others at risk, make sure you make an appointment to get vaccinated.”

Locally, several schools in Randolph County have had to quarantine some students because of coronavirus, officials said.

“We have some community spread in the schools,” Woodrum said. “So we have several students currently being quarantined. But it came from the outside and the community — it was not spread within the school. It was brought in from outside, it’s not being spread from student-to-student.”

This week’s Mass Vaccination Clinic at the Phil Gainer Community Center will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Woodrum said more than 5,500 people will have been vaccinated locally after 1,200 boost and prime doses are administered today.

“The clinic is still by appointment only but it is now opened up to those 16 and older,” Woodrum said. “So we will be trying to get everyone vaccinated in the next few weeks.”

Woodrum said the list of people registering to be vaccinated which has been compiled for the state by the Everbridge software has been growing shorter. Therefore, the Mass Vaccination Clinics could be coming to an end within a few weeks, she said.

When that does happen, citizens will have several different options to get vaccinated, such as the Randolph-Elkins Health Department having smaller target clinics, which may visit a business or an office to administer doses. Physicians offices, walk-in clinics and other agencies will also be able to administer vaccines after the mass clinics end.

“We’ve just about used up the list (Everbridge provides) because people have quit registering,” Woodrum said. “So they need to keep registering as long as that list is being used. And to remember to answer their phones on Tuesdays even if they don’t recognize the number.”

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