CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The surge in cases is clearly one reason that people are heading to testing and vaccination clinics, such as this one today on Charleston’s West Side. More than 1,600 new positive cases were identified in the past day, and the active cases are now past 18,000. 670 people are in hospitals, a number that hasn’t been that high since February. Health officials are trying to turn the tide.
“By going out and doing testing and vaccinations, that is our only way out of this. We know that people need to be wearing masks and being socially distant, but we have those tools in our toolbelt. We need to be testing. We need to be vaccinating. And absolutely we need to be out in the community,” said Dr. Sherri Young, of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
People waiting in line were happy to step up.
“So very happy to get my third shot today. I can be around my grand-babies and my great-grandkids. And my friends,” says Delores Shockley, who got her third vaccine dose.
Right now only people with weakened immune systems from high medical risks can get the third dose. But, that will be expanded in a few weeks. Meanwhile, others weren’t just here to protect themselves, they also want to protect their neighbors, even if that means getting shots and mandating masks.
“You have the rights of the one versus the needs of the many. That’s all I have to say,” said Steven Burgess, a substitute school teacher.
Right now 109 people are on ventilators in the intensive care units. That’s a West Virginia pandemic record high.
“With COVID-19 numbers spiking again, we are going to see dozens more of these free testing and vaccination clinics, all across West Virginia in the coming weeks,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.