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Randolph COVID-19 cases near 100

ELKINS — With active COVID-19 cases in Randolph County continuing to rise and approaching triple digits, local health officials are again stressing the importance of vaccinations.

For the second consecutive week, the number of active coronavirus cases in the county has nearly doubled. Two weeks ago there were just 26 reported before that number climbed to 53 last week. On Monday the total was closing in on the 100-case mark.

“We are nearly at 100 active cases now,” said Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist. “We got 17 new ones this morning and they’ve kept accumulating since Friday.”

Woodrum said the best defense to slow the spread of the virus is for citizens to be vaccinated if they haven’t already done so.

“Only 35 percent of West Virginians are fully vaccinated and that’s not good,” said Woodrum. “The best thing we can all do right now is get vaccinated. It’s a freedom shot, that’s what I’ve called it from the beginning. It gives you the freedom to go out and be with other people. And it’s a freedom from the anxiety about contracting the virus.”

Woodrum noted there are many other advantages to being vaccinated from the coronavirus.

“Originally people who had been vaccinated and picked up the virus had to be quarantined,” she said. “But now they realize that if you’re vaccinated you don’t carry enough of it to share it. And it would be very unusual if you did. So you don’t have to quarantine if you’re exposed. And you also don’t have to wear a mask around your friends and family. Plus you’re protecting your momma and your grandma when you go visit. It just seems like common sense to me.”

Vaccinations are currently available at the Randolph-Elkins Health Department, Valley Health Care, local pharmacies, and through Davis Medical Center and its medical providers.

Some have expressed concerns after a pair of schools in the county reported COVID-19 cases last week. Randolph County Schools’ Facebook page listed both Tygarts Valley and Elkins High School with confirmed cases on Friday. Tygarts Valley was listed as having seven and Elkins, which canceled classes on Friday, had eight.

“A lot of the cases at the schools are with siblings and groups of friends,” Woodrum said. “We haven’t been able to pin them all down, but they are not all kids who went to the prom. But we’ve had some events around town that have spread it. And people are calling wanting to know if they can have a family reunion, or they’re having a wedding and wanting to know if a reception can be held inside. I don’t have any ability to say, but if people are vaccinated they are safe. If they are not then they are just spinning the wheel.”

Active cases across the state have declined since the end of last week. On Thursday, there were 6,716 active cases in West Virginia. On Monday that number had fallen to 6,296.

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