CABELL COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Cabell County has continued to vaccinate its residents at a slower but stable rate over the past few months. However, recently, COVID-19 cases are back on the rise.
Cabell County went into the ‘yellow’ risk category on the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) color-coded map this week.
“We’re starting to see an uptick in cases of COVID-19 disease, and that indicates that the virus is still here and it’s still a problem for us,” says Dr. Michael Kilkenny, M.D., M.S., CEO and Health Officer of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
The fact of the matter is: “We don’t have enough people vaccinated in West Virginia and in Cabell County to keep this virus from attacking us,” Kilkenny says.
The colors of the map reflect not only the infection rates but the associated risk of community spread.
“When we’re ‘green,’ that’s where we want to be. We’re really dealing with less than one case a day. Once we start getting into the four and five, which is where we are now, that starts to become more of a problem, more people are getting quarantined,” Kilkenny says.
The total percentage of vaccination rates are getting better in the county:
“We are estimating that we have 49 percent of our entire population vaccinated, and that includes those children who are not eligible to be vaccinated,” Kilkenny says.
While those numbers are looking up, they’re still a far cry from the percentage needed for herd immunity.
“Over the last month or so it definitely has slowed down from where we first saw it. They were doing multiple hundreds over at the Sears [vaccination location] a day, to where we’re doing less; we’re doing between like 30 and 50 in the normal eight to four hours,” says Alex Lewandowski, vaccine clinic coordinator for the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
Health officials warn it is as urgent as ever for people to get vaccinated, especially with the risk of circulating COVID-19 variants.
“We know that the vaccines are effective against the variants…that is in keeping you out of the hospital and keeping you out of the ICU and keeping you alive. If our vaccines are 65 percent effective against the Delta variant, then 35 percent of vaccinated people are at risk from that variant,” Kilkenny says.
Although the variant has not gotten a strong foothold in West Virginia yet, Dr. Kilkenny warns people need to get vaccinated before the variant has a chance to mutate and spread.
The vaccine clinic in Cabell County is now next to Best Buy in Barboursville.
For more details and hours of the clinic, visit the health department’s website here.