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West Virginia officials attribute five Mid-Ohio Valley deaths to COVID

PARKERSBURG — The deaths of five Mid-Ohio Valley residents were attributed to COVID-19 on Monday in the latest virus update from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Three men from Wood County — ages 44, 57 and 75 — were listed among the 31 deaths since Friday’s update, along with a 71-year-old Jackson County woman and a 50-year-old Roane County man.

The youngest people listed were a 26-year-old Fayette County woman and a 30-year-old Ohio County woman. The statewide death total since the pandemic’s start in the spring of 2020 is 3,238.

“COVID-19 continues to be a threat to West Virginia,” DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch said. “We must continue to support those grieving losses and renew our dedication to safety and prevention measures by being vaccinated against this terrible disease.”

Most of the state — 47 counties — was red on Monday’s County Alert System map. Red is the highest of five categories indicating the level of spread of the virus, based on number of new cases per 100,000 people in a seven- or 14-day period or the percentage of tests coming back positive.

The only Mid-Ohio Valley counties that were not red were Gilmer, Pleasants and Roane. They were among five counties that fell into the second-highest category of orange. With just one county (Lewis) on the middle level at gold and two (Pocahontas and Tucker) on the second-lowest tier of yellow, there were no green counties.

There were 27,607 active cases across the state as of Monday’s update.

The number of active cases climbed throughout the area over the weekend, except for Gilmer County, where the total declined from 64 Friday to 43 Monday.

Active cases in other local counties as of Monday (Friday’s total) were: Calhoun, 240 (201); Doddridge, 142 (121); Jackson, 287 (232); Pleasants, 122 (111); Ritchie, 198 (148); Roane, 204 (169); Tyler, 250 (218); Wetzel, 387 (339); Wirt, 122 (87); and Wood, 1,344 (1,125).

Carrie Brainard, threat preparedness coordinator with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, said there’s no one area contributing to the triple-digit rise in Wood County. There are some outbreaks in long-term care facilities, she said, but noted multiple cases in the same facility only count as one for the state’s totals.

“It’s just bad,” she said. “I know people are tired of it and they want it to go away, but we need to take some precautions to make that happen.”

Vaccination reduces a person’s chances of having severe illness and dying as a result of COVID, but it does not completely prevent someone from being infected, especially with the more-contagious delta variant in circulation.

“And it doesn’t fully prevent them from passing it on to someone,” Brainard said.

That’s why the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

Upcoming vaccination clinics include:

* 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. today (recurring), Ritchie Regional Health Center, 135 S. Penn Ave., Harrisville; appointments required, 304-643-4005.

* 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Pleasants County Library, 101 Lafayette St., St. Marys; appointments required, 304-485-7374, ext. 175.

* 9 a.m. to noon Thursday (recurring), Wetzel/Tyler Health Department, 425 Fourth Ave., Paden City.

* 9 a.m. to noon Friday (recurring), Minnie Hamilton Rural Health Clinic, 186 Hospital Drive, Grantsville; appointments required, 304-354-9244.

* 2-5 p.m. Friday, Vienna Rec Center, 570 Jackson Park Drive, Vienna.

Vaccinations are also available at many CVS, Kroger, Rite-Aid, Sam’s Club, Walgreens and Walmart locations. More information can be found online at vaccinate.wv.gov.

Testing is available at Fruth and Walgreens locations, with additional information at dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/pages/testing.aspx.

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

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