Taylor County seeing positive trends in battle with COVID-19

 TAYLOR COUNTY—For the first time in months, numbers are looking better in Taylor County, but local health officials urge residents to stay the course in their fight against COVID-19.

“We have seen a very, very positive trend in our infection rate and our percent positivity here in the county,” shared Grafton-Taylor County Health Department Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn.

In fact, last week, the health department reported that the county’s percent positivity rate was only 2.7 and that the county was finally in a green designation on the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services (WV DHHR) County Alert System map.

With numbers trending in the right direction, health officials are still cautioning residents to continue to carry out practices that help to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“In the past 24 hours, we have seen a slight uptick in the county’s figures,” Thorn reported. “Up until last night, we were down to a 14 in our infection rate and just below two percent for our positivity, however, we are now up to almost 18 in our infection rate.”

He said that even with lower infection rates, area hospitals are reporting more occurrences of hospitalizations of COVID positive patients.

“We were told yesterday on our regional call that WVU Hospitals has seen an increase in hospitalizations,” Thorn disclosed. “So, even with these infection rates trending lower and lower, do be leery because there is some data looking at increased hospitalizations.”

As of press time on Friday, February 12, the county was reporting a total of 781 COVID-19 cases, with only 29 of those being currently active. 

“We have had 732 recovered patients, and are still at 20 deaths in the county,” Thorn shared. “That low active number is just awesome, we hope to see that shrink and shrink every day.” 

He also voiced that the county’s vaccination efforts, that are an effort of various health entities, have been a tremendous success thus far.

“This past week, we were able to vaccinate 317 persons with their prime dose of the Pfizer vaccine,” Thorn reported. “Next week, we are anticipating another 300 doses of the vaccine, so hopefully we will be able to pull some extra doses.” 

He said that those extra doses would be given out to first responders, teachers and other residents from the Everbridge System.

Thorn also shared that new guidance has come down from the Centers for Disease Control regarding the quarantining of individuals who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Those individuals who have been fully vaccinated, having received both doses of the serum and are outside of the 14-day period for the vaccine to have reached maximum potency, will not have to quarantine after coming in contact with a COVID positive patient, as long as it hasn’t been longer than three months since their last inoculation.

“The reason that period is three months right now is because that is the only data they have. It is not to say that the vaccine is only effective for three months,” Thorn explained. “As time goes on, the data collected will change and we should see an increase in those numbers.”

Even with the rollout of vaccines, until herd immunity can be reached, Thorn is urging residents to continue to be diligent in mitigation strategies.

“We want to keep up with masking, cleaning and sanitizing,” he imparted. “We need to keep up with our social distancing and other protocols if we want to strangle this virus to death.”