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30-year-old Wood County man among latest COVID-19 deaths

PARKERSBURG — Area health departments are gearing up to administer Pfizer vaccine booster shots as the COVID-19 pandemic claimed perhaps its youngest victim in the area.

A 30-year-old Wood County man was among 45 deaths reported Monday by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

He passed away Friday, said Carrie Brainard, threat preparedness coordinator with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department. The department was unable to confirm whether he had been vaccinated and they were not made aware of any underlying health conditions, she said.

The individual is believed to be the youngest person whose death has been attributed to the virus in the six counties — Calhoun, Doddridge, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood — the Mid-Ohio Valley department covers.

The latest deaths attributed to the virus also include a 70-year-old woman from Jackson County and a 79-year old man from Pleasants County, according to the state.

“Though we may tire of the pandemic, we must never forget that measures for prevention mean lives saved,” DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch said. “We counter the devastation of COVID-19 by ensuring we are vaccinated as well as our family members.”

Federal regulators have recommended a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans age 65 and older and those with pre-existing conditions and who work in high-risk environments, clinics for the booster shots are being planned.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department said on its Facebook page it will announce its booster events at the start of next week. Brainard noted some pharmacies are already administering doses, and people can find more information at www.vaccines.gov.

Announced vaccination events include:

* Wetzel-Tyler Health Department, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, United Methodist Church of New Martinsville, 10 Howard Jeffers Drive, New Martinsville. It’s open to people who got their second Pfizer dose in April or before. People must have a vaccine card with both doses in hand in order to enter.

* Doddridge County Health Department, 9-11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, call 304-873-1531. The clinic will offer regular vaccines and boosters to anyone who received their second Pfizer dose at least six months ago.

Active case totals in local counties on Monday (Friday) were: Calhoun, 47 (72); Doddridge, 69 (81); Gilmer, 43 (50); Jackson, 276 (238); Pleasants, 81 (97); Ritchie, 116 (141); Roane, 124 (135); Tyler, 118 (135); Wetzel, 159 (188); Wirt, 68 (65); Wood, 706 (758).

Calhoun County improved to yellow on the state’s County Alert System map, representing the second-lowest level of spread based on the lower metric of percentage of positive tests or new cases per 100,000 people in a given time period. It was the only county in the state with that designation, though both Pocahontas and Tucker counties were green, the lowest level.

Elsewhere in the Mid-Ohio Valley, Wood, Wirt, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Tyler and Wetzel counties were red, the highest level. Doddridge, Gilmer and Roane counties were orange, the second-highest.

Marietta Memorial Hospital had 72 COVID-positive patients as of Monday afternoon, 58 unvaccinated and 14 vaccinated. They ranged in age from 28 to 89, according to a post on the Memorial Health System’s Facebook page. In the intensive care unit, all 15 COVID-positive patients were unvaccinated and 12 were on ventilators.

WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center had not posted updated numbers as of Monday afternoon.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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