Jim Justice ...

File photograph

Jim Justice speaks during a virtual pandemic briefing in this Daily Telegraph file photo.

Active COVID cases reported in Mercer County have decreased some, but the county still ranks second in the state.

Bonnie Allen, Mercer County Health Department Administrator, said only Kanawha County is reporting more positive cases than Mercer County.

“Our cases have come down a little” she said. “But we are still over 100 and we are second highest in the state behind Kanawha County (117).”

According to the state DHHR (Department of Health and Human Resources), Mercer County reported 145 new cases last week with 102 still active.

Kanawha County saw 156 new cases with 117 still active.

However, because of the population difference, Mercer County remains in yellow on the County Alert System map while Kanawha County is in green.

McDowell County, which remains in the yellow, reported only 31 new cases last week with 21 active cases.

Monroe County is now in the green, with 12 new cases reported last week and 11 active cases.

But the virus is still active and these Omicron variants, BA.4 and 5, are more contagious than any previous variants.

That is why state health officials have urged anyone 12 and older who have had at least the first two doses of Moderna or Pfizer to get the new Omicron booster shot.

This booster is more effective in enhancing immune defenses against these variants, which are now the dominant variants in the nation and in West Virginia.

The seven-day average number of new positive cases in the state hit 726 on July 29 but had fallen to 307 on Sept. 25.

Hospitalizations of COVID patients hit 397 on Aug. 9 but stood at 250 on Monday.

With 14 more deaths reported over the weekend, the state total was 7,396 on Monday.

Dr. Clay Marsh, state COVID-19 Czar, said recently the Omicron booster is “very effective” in preventing severe symptoms, hospitalizations and death.

Allen said the health department starting giving the Omicron boosters earlier this month as soon as they became available.

“We have been giving about 200 doses of the Omicron booster a week,” she said. “We ran out last week but have received a good shipment of both the Pfizer and Moderna Omicron booster.”

A vaccination clinic is now being held every Wednesday at the Princeton Rescue Squad’s’ Karen Preservati Center, she said. The hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the new Omicron booster is available along with other shots.

Allen said the health department is also holding a drive-thru flu vaccine clinic on Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the facility at 978 Blue Prince Rd.

“We do have both senior and regular flu vaccines,” she said.

Health experts are saying this could be a rough year for the flu and everyone is urged to be vaccinated.

Dr. Ayne Amjad, state Health Officer, said recently everyone should take precautions.

“It is going to be a bad flu season based on trends we are seeing across the world,” she said.

For example, the AARP (American Associaton of Retired People) reported that Australia, which is just snow coming out of its flu season saw the worst in five years, and it arrived earlier than usual.

Amjad said those 12 and older should get the Omicron booster and a flu shot.

“They can get both at the same time,” she said, with shots in separate arms.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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