BLUEFIELD — Mercer County is finally out of the red on West Virginia’s county alert map.

The updated county alert map, which measures community transmission of COVID-19, downgraded Mercer County Monday to an orange status with a 6.77 percent positivity ranking.

This is the first time in several weeks that Mercer County hasn’t been ranked in the red on the county alert map.

In another hopeful sign, active virus cases in Mercer County on Monday fell to 351 infections. That’s the lowest number of active virus cases Mercer County has reported since the Delta-variant fueled surge took off this past summer.

It’s also down from Friday of last week, when 426 COVID-19 cases in the county were considered active.

According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 29,061 people, or approximately 49.5 percent of Mercer County’s population, has now received at least one dose of the vaccine.

However, that figure is reduced when factoring in the percentage of the county’s population that has received the first two doses of the vaccine (but not the third booster shot) which then stands at 24,504, or 41.7 percent of the county’s population.

So far 171 deaths to date in Mercer County are being attributed to COVID-19. That figure includes deaths from ongoing outbreaks at two Mercer County nursing homes. Two deaths have been reported as a result of an ongoing outbreak at the Stonerise Center in Princeton where six residents and seven staff members are still positive for the virus. One death has been reported as a result of an active outbreak at the Princeton Health Care Center, where only one staff member is now positive for the virus.

The Mercer County Health Department is planning another COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Wednesday and Thursday of this week at the Karen Preservati Center, which is located at 704 Maple Street in Princeton. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days and third dose booster shots also will be administered at that time.

Neighboring McDowell County also was out of the red Monday and in the orange with a 7.96 percent positivity rating. The number of active virus cases in McDowell County has now fallen to 170, which is down from 183 active cases over the weekend.

Six deaths in McDowell County are now being attributed to an ongoing outbreak at the McDowell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Gary where two staff members and one resident are still positive for the virus.

Monroe County, meanwhile, is ranked gold with a positivity rating of 4.65 percent. Monroe County is now down to only 55 active virus cases, although that number is up from 54 infections on Sunday.

— Contact Charles Owens at Follow him @BDTOwens

— Contact Charles Owens at Follow him @BDTOwens

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