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Randolph sees 15 COVID- related deaths in September

ELKINS — Even though active case numbers for COVID-19 have declined in Randolph County during the past week, local health officials remain concerned about how the virus is affecting those who contract it.

On Friday, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department reported there were 216 active cases in the county, which is a significant drop from the 412 reported last week.

“It seems like this wave may have peaked,” Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist, told The Inter-Mountain Friday. “Hopefully the numbers will continue to go down and we can get back where we once were when we had just a few cases every week. But right now the people who are becoming ill, many of them are becoming seriously ill. And it’s just not the loss of taste or smell for their symptoms, it has been much more serious with this delta variant.”

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the county is the biggest concern for officials. At the end of August there had been 16 COVID-related deaths reported in Randolph County since the start of the pandemic. In September alone there have been 15 total deaths as of Friday.

“People need to get vaccinated so they can increase their chances of not getting seriously ill or even dying,” Woodrum said. “They’ve been predicting since they started giving vaccinations for COVID that people might get infected and get symptoms, but it’s to prevent hospitalizations and death. There have been some serious illnesses and even deaths with those vaccinated, but the percentage is very low.”

On Wednesday evening, 41 percent of the patients at Davis Medical Center were COVID positive. At the time of the report, none of the 41 percent had been vaccinated, officials said.

Woodrum suggests people not wait to visit the hospital or see a doctor if they’re having certain symptoms.

“If people are experiencing elevated temperatures that are not relieved with fever-reducing meds, or they’re having difficulty breathing, they should go and get checked out,” she said. “If you test positive, there are some treatments they can give you along with oxygen. There’s even an antibody infusion they can give you to help.”

Although she is hopeful that this wave of COVID is finally on the decline, Woodrum said trends in history have shown that there could likely be another after this one.

“Historically, pandemics have come in waves, so it’s possible if we get down and get through this one, it can come back,” she said. “When this current surge we had came back, it came back in with a vengeance. And it hasn’t been hooked to any superspreader events or anything like that, it has been just so contagious where just being around each other made a difference.”

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported there were 16,223 active cases in the state on Friday morning. There have been 3,523 deaths in the Mountain State since the pandemic began.

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