Kanawha County health leader reflects on 2020 and COVID-19

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – In early February 2020, many people were starting to hear about COVID-19 but at the time it wasn’t a topic of daily conversation in the United States.

A year ago we sat down with Dr. Sherri Young at the Kanawha Charleston Health Department to talk about something that at the time seemed like a distant threat. Monday we met up with her again to reflect on what has changed since that original interview.

“We wanted to reassure the public ‘don’t be scared, this may not happen’ and unfortunately it did happen and it happened in a very large scale but we had everything in place,” Dr. Young said about her initial interview about COVID-19.

Unfortunately within a matter of weeks COVID-19 changed everything. At the time of our initial interview the only way to identify COVID-19 was a blood test that had to be done at the Centers for Disease Control. Since then many things have changed about testing, treatment and prevention.

“Looking back we were prepared in some ways,” Young said. “I think having health command stopped a lot of what could have happened potentially. Trying to get people into quarantine. Trying to identify cases quickly. Moving from testing to contact tracing to now vaccinations. I think we are in a phase of the pandemic where we see a small light at the end of the tunnel.”

She says one of the bright spots during this difficult time is how well people worked together.

“When you have a supportive team and a team that is in this to end it and will be there for the testing, will be there for the vaccinations, will be there until we are 100% through with COVID it makes it easier,” Young said.

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