West Virginia in the red

A majority of counties within the Mountain State sit in the red category of the state’s County Alert System as of the Saturday update. 

CHARLESTON — West Virginia has crossed a grim milestone as the state surpassed 100,000 cases in a single leap, according to the Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Sunday update.

The DHHR reported a staggering 1,434 new cases had been reported between Saturday and Sunday, bringing the state up to 101,212 total cases of COVID-19. That number includes both confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus, the latter contributing 19,631 cases to the total. 12 new deaths were also confirmed to be COVID-19 related on Sunday, bringing the pandemic fatalities to 1,582. One of those deaths confirmed by the DHHR was the newest death from McDowell County, bringing the state in agreement with the county’s own health department at a total of seven deaths from the virus thus far. 

The seventh virus death was reported by the McDowell County Health Department first late last week.

Hope continues that the ongoing vaccinations will bring an end to the international pandemic, which first started its destructive journey around the world in late December of 2019. West Virginia, according to the DHHR, has administered 90,645 doses of the 109,440 vaccines it has received.

Hundreds of residents in Mercer County have already received their first dose of the vaccine at drive-through, mass vaccination events held by the Mercer County Health Department. Between the Jan. 4 event at the Mercer County Health Department and the Jan. 7 event at the Brushfork Armory, the Health Department has administered all doses of the vaccine it has thus far received. 

The health department has not received any notice yet from the West Virginia National Guard, which has been distributing the vaccine, when the next shipment will arrive, according to Roger Topping, a member of the Mercer County Board of Health. People who received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine must have a second shot within three weeks. Each person was given a card showing when and where they received their first dose. “They’ll be the first ones we take care of as far as I can tell,” Topping said. 

A vaccination event was held Tuesday, Jan. 5 at the Bluestone Health Care Association clinic along Beckley Road near Princeton. The clinic had collected 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg. The school is one of several hubs across West Virginia where hospitals, clinics and other health care providers can receive vaccine shipments. 

The second doses for Bluestone Health recipients had not be scheduled as of Friday. Patients will be informed when more vaccine arrives, Linda Hutchens, CEO of the Bluestone Health Care Association, said. Each patient who received a first dose was given a card that records when they were vaccinated and when to expect a second dose.

— Contact James Trent at jtrent@bdtonline.com

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