CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — As the COVID-19 case numbers increase, West Virginia is once again stepping up vaccination and testing efforts.
At the height of the pandemic, we saw massive testing events statewide. But as more West Virginians received the vaccine and numbers started to decrease so did the big testing events.
“With kids going back to school and having the numbers on the rise across Kanawha County and across the United States we know that we need to increase our efforts not only for our vaccinations but also for the covid testing,” said Dr. Sherri Young, Health Officer for the Kanawha Charleston Health Department.
When the vaccine first became available, hundreds of people would fill the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, to roll up their sleeves and receive the vaccine. As numbers got better, the large events went away. However, with a new surge in cases, these events will be making an appearance once again.
“What we’ve seen in the summer is almost predictable in the fact that people were traveling more, things were opening up a little bit more. We didn’t anticipate necessarily that there would be a more aggressive virus or aggressive strain with the delta variant,” said Young.
Young says COVID-19 testing is a tool that has been utilized since the very start of the pandemic. The West Virginia Joint Interagency Taskforce says they will also be ramping up testing. “We do know that some health departments are working on re-staffing. They’ve been working really hard this past year so we are going to start doing that because we know testing is important. Our health command team also still has their sites so we do have a lot of our testing sites around,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, West Virginia’s Public Health Officer.
Health experts are saying that how we respond to the rise in COVID-19 cases now will determine how the fall will look. “Now’s the time to make the impact on what happens in September and October. And that impact is to wear your mask, be socially distant, wash your hands and get that vaccine,” added Dr. Young.
Dr. Young says that they will also be holding a walk-in testing and vaccination clinic at the Kanawha Charleston Health Department this Saturday, August 14, and next Saturday, the 21st. Now in Nitro, on Monday the 16th, the Nitro Library will also have a testing and vaccination clinic.