Health leaders in Kanawha County brace for post Christmas COVID surge

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) Health leaders across the nation warned people about the dangers of getting together for the Christmas holiday. But people still traveled across the country to visit loved ones. Now officials in Kanawha County are bracing for the impact.

“We ate in one part of the house and my grandma ate in the kitchen,” explained Stacy Oden, Charleston, WV. She and her family had a small gathering and took precautions this Christmas. “She was watching football and we watched the Grinch. It was different but with video chat we were still able to contact other sides of the family.”

Not everyone was as careful.

Dr. Sherri Young, Health Officer, Kanawha Charleston Health Department

“What we anticpate to see over the next several weeks is basically the fall-out from Christmas,” said Dr. Sherri Young, Health Officer at the Kanawha Charleston Health Department.

Young said many hospitals are still dealing with COVID-19 cases connected to Thanksgiving. Now Young said she is expecting yet another spike.

“Looking at every other holiday that we’ve had throughout the pandemic, the bigger the holiday the more cases we see,” she said. “If this was the biggest travel day within the last 300 days then we have to believe there is going to be a huge surge coming up in the next 2 to three weeks.”

Right the Kanawha Charleston Health Department is still offering free testing but they have shifted the focus away from large testing events to now giving vaccinations to first responders.

“We have 1500 first responders when you tally everyone up and we are getting a few hundred doses at a time. So it is a small slow lift moving forward,” Young said.

It is a reminder that even though 2021 is right around the corner the challenges of 2020 will be around for a long time to come.

“We are definitely looking forward to a new normal and what things are going to look like post COVID,” Stacy Oden said.

Young said usually people who have been exposed to COVID-19 will start showing symptoms within 5 to 7 days. So she said if you think you may have been exposed during a holiday get-together start monitoring your temperature at least twice a day and make plans to get tested.

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