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Caution: We’re not out of the pandemic yet

West Virginia is at its lowest level of COVID-19 cases since November. We are, according to NPR, ranked among the highest vaccination rates in the world. The Mountain State is making great strides in fighting back the pandemic. It is wonderful news, and cause for celebration.

But let’s not get carried away. Perhaps missed among the headlines this week was the announcement by the Department of Health and Human Resources that three cases of the U.K. variant of the virus have been detected in West Virginia.

“While the presence of this COVID-19 variant in West Virginia is not surprising, it’s a good motivator for us to double down on the prevention efforts we’ve had in place for many months now,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, state health officer and commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health.

We can’t throw caution to the wind, even as more people are vaccinated and restrictions are eased. Everyone must continue wearing their masks, washing hands, social distancing and getting tested.

As Dr. Sally Hodder, director of the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute and associate vice president for clinical and translational research at WVU ,so rightly put it “We don’t want to shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Keep doing the good work that has gotten us this far. We may be able to see a path toward an end to this plague, but it’s not over yet.

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