Officials urge caution for upcoming spring break, vaccine efforts going strong


TAYLOR COUNTY—As the COVID-19 Pandemic carries on, local health officials are encouraging residents to practice safety during the upcoming spring break holiday.

While no new cases have been recorded in the recent outbreak at Grafton High School, area school-aged youths have been affected by the virus, and with the spring break right around the corner and travel plans being made, officials want to issue a word of warning.

“Spring break is coming, and yes we are giving our faculty and students a spring break this year, so we just hope that common sense prevails,” voiced Taylor County Superintendent of Schools Christy Miller.

She said that school officials are asking that students and their families stay within their core groups to help alleviate any spread of the virus. Knowing that it would fall on individuals to practice safe protocols, Miller shared that upon returning after break, the schools would continue their mitigation strategies to ensure student and faculty safety.

“We need to remember to stay safe this spring break,” said Grafton-Taylor County Health Department Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn. “Dr. Fauci has reported that in the last few weeks, a third of the states in the nation, of which West Virginia is one, have seen at least a ten percent increase in cases.”

As of Monday morning, the county was sitting at 845 total positive confirmed cases, with 23 active cases and 801 recovered patients.

“We had a few cases pop in on us over the weekend, which is nothing out of the normal,” said Thorn. “However, our infection rate is nearing twenty percent, which we don’t like.”

He revealed that the county’s infection rate is now at a 17.11 percent, well into the orange category and cause for concern.

“However, our percent positivity is only a 2.4 percent, which leaves us in the green,” Thorn noted.

He disclosed that the vaccination efforts being completed through a collaborative effort between the health department, Preston Taylor Community Health Centers, Inc. and Grafton City Hospital are still going strong.

As of Monday morning, 6,525 residents had undergone inoculation, which total 39.1 percent of the county’s population that had been vaccinated thus far.

“To put that into perspective, the state has vaccinated about 22 percent of the population, and nationwide we are at about 12 percent vaccinated,” Thorn voiced. “So, we are kicking butt at the state and federal level with our vaccinations.”

The Grafton-Taylor County Health Department is currently scheduling patients for their vaccine clinics.

“We are doing direct scheduling following the governor’s recent opening of restrictions,” said Thorn. “To get on the schedule, please call the health department at 304-265-1288.”

He reported that because of numerous variants popping up from the UK, California and New York, extra precautions would need to be taken.

“We need to let the vaccine’s work before the variants can take hold,” he voiced. “We recommend that everybody, age 16 and up, get their doses. That way we can get our herd immunity and get back to normal.”

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