County inching closer to herd immunity, another outbreak reported

TAYLOR COUNTY—After seeing a drop in cases throughout the county, Taylor County officials have reported a slight increase, but they shared it is cause for some concern. 

“We currently have 871 total cases, with 27 of those currently active,” reported Grafton-Taylor County Health Department Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn during the Friday morning COVID briefing call. “We are back over our 25 range, which is something that we didn’t want to see. And, unfortunately, the county suffered another loss to the virus, this time a 74-year-old male.” 

He revealed that some of those cases come from outbreaks in two of the area’s schools.

“We are currently experiencing an outbreak at Grafton High School, which has been on going, where six people have been infected,” he explained. “We also have an outbreak at Taylor County Middle School where three people have tested positive for the virus.” 

Thorn noted that Grafton High School’s outbreak has peaked at only six individual cases, and officials are hoping that it is the final number impacted.

“We are just waiting to make sure no additional positives are reported this week so that we can close that out,” he added. “However, the outbreak at Taylor County Middle School was just reported earlier this week, so there is still a way to go there.”

According to Thorn, the schools would now be handling the contact tracing and notification of any students who may have been exposed to a positive case, sharing that the school nurses had undergone training on the state level to do so.

“We will still be running the case investigation on the positives, and we will be guiding and assisting them in these outbreaks, as well,” he commented. “However, they have taken over that role in that process to own for themselves.”

 During Thorn’s report, he added that so far that approximately 7,800 of the county’s residents had undergone vaccination.

“That is 47 percent, approaching the 50 percent mark for the county’s total population,” he voiced.

 He further shared an overwhelming 80 percent of the vaccine-eligible populations had been inoculated, inching the county ever closer to that much wanted herd immunity status.

“With the amount of population, we have saturated so far, pretty much all we have left to do is catch the last remaining individuals on the aged population groups, and then get these younger kids their vaccinations,” Thorn projected. “Probably about half of them are not going to want the vaccine. So, we are seeing that we will have fulfilled the county’s need for vaccinations and have gotten as close as we can to herd immunity through our community clinics within the next month.”

And while those numbers inch closer and closer to the need to meet herd immunity, officials are strongly encouraging residents, who are able to, to undergo inoculation. 

“We are continuing to schedule vaccines for next week,” Thorn divulged. “Those wishing to undergo vaccination may call the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department at 304-265-1288 to schedule an appointment.”