Delta variant causing COVID cases to rise in Taylor County

Two outbreaks reported locally

TAYLOR COUNTY—COVID-19 cases have begun to rise throughout the nation, and here locally, that trend is occurring.

According to Grafton-Taylor County Health Department Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn, the county currently has 1,057 total positive cases with 50 active cases, something that causes some concern for health officials.

“The state has our infection rate at a 33.37 percent, but we know that it is probably higher than that and that they haven’t added in recent cases to their numbers,” Thorn disclosed. “Our percent positivity is currently at a 7.28 percent.”

He noted that while the numbers may look bad, and that the county is definitely experiencing a surge in cases, the daily infections are nowhere near the numbers that occurred in January.

“With our current cases, we are experiencing two outbreaks locally, one at the Blueville Church of the Nazarene and another at Little Feet Daycare and Preschool,” Thorn revealed. “We also have some cases at the Taylor County Courthouse that could possibly result in an outbreak there.”

He noted that the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department would continue to work to test individuals in those facilities, as well as countywide to try and diminish the threat of further spread of the virus.

County Health Officer Doctor David Bender divulged that in increase in case numbers is due to the delta variant of the virus.

“Statewide, and locally, our infection counts have significantly risen. This doesn’t appear to be a fluke but rather the effects of the delta mutation of the virus,” he shared. “The mutations have made the spike protein of the virus more infective and also more resistant to our vaccine.”

And while the variant seems to be more resistant to the vaccine, he is still urging residents to roll up their sleeves to get their shots.

“It’s still clear that the vaccine provides significant protection against contracting the virus,” Bender voiced. “More importantly, vaccine recipients tend to have milder cases of infection. The protection offered by the vaccine is more important than ever.”

Local health officials will continue to work diligently to provide vaccines to those individuals who have not yet received it and are ready to undergo inoculation. 

Individuals may contact the health department, Grafton City Hospital, Preston-Taylor Community Health Center or their personal care provider to undergo vaccination.

Thorn revealed that with the current upswing in cases, local health entities have seen an increased load to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

“I am just reiterating that the vaccine is the best way to prevent hospitalization. It may not prevent you from getting the virus, but it will minimize the effects it has on you,” Thorn added.

Bender offered additional suggestions saying, “Wear the darn mask around others especially inside public places and at the workplace; to remember our good habits including hand washing and sanitizing frequently; and keeping a happy distance from others when able.”

And while no one wants to have to put safety measures back in place, the pandemic is still very much a threat to the community.

“Nobody has said this pandemic is over. It’s still a roller coaster ride, and we’re over the first big drop, but there will be a few more hills along the way,” Bender commented. “The next month or so looks like one of those hills.”