CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — To deal with the surging coronavirus numbers, the Kanawha County Commission held a special meeting to approve COVID-related items. The commission is giving the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department $50,000 for a marketing campaign aimed at getting more people vaccinated. Statewide, there were 505 new cases since Wednesday, and the total active cases surged above 5,000. Most troubling is that there are now 299 delta variant cases, an increase of 86% since Tuesday.
“It’s hitting us hard. It’s hitting us fast. Our infection rate has tripled in the last couple weeks here in Kanawha County. Our hospitalizations have went up,” said Jeremy Nelson, President, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
Kanawha County also passed what’s known as the “TEAMS Plan.” Middle school and high school sports teams, bands, choirs and other groups that achieve 90% vaccination rates, can win cash bonuses between $2,500 and $10,000.
“We’re actually going to spend about a million dollars on a program that is, assuming we have full participation from all schools. But it applies to public schools and private schools, and our colleges and universities,” said Commissioner Ben Salango, Kanawha County Commission.
School leaders are thrilled.
“We lost crowds last year. Had to play in front of empty stadiums. And just the potential to be able to replenish some of that lost revenue is huge for us,” said Rich Skeen, Sissonville High Athletic Director.
The county is using money from the American Rescue Plan to pay for all of this.
Kanawha County is the state’s most populous, but 45,000 people eligible for vaccinations still have not gotten them. Commissioners hope the actions they approved today will inspire other counties to pass similar programs.