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Kanawha County seeing high surge in COVID cases

Kanawha County sees record-breaking covid numbers
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 7:10 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Kanawha County has seen record numbers of new COVID-19 cases in the last week. Health officials say both the delta and omicron variants are spreading throughout the county.

Dr. Sherri Young, health officer with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said she is alarmed about the surge in numbers, as the health care system is at a breaking point and resources are in short supply.

“Unfortunately in the last few days, we have seen record cases and an all-time high record of positive cases in a 24-hour period,” Young said.

In the last week, Dr. Young says on some days new cases are over 200 per day.

“It is not unexpected to see a surge, but it was a shock to see that actual number on paper,” she said.

Dr. Young said the high rate of new infections is because people traveled during the holidays and vaccine rates are low.

“Of all people that have died in Kanawha County, 98 percent of those are unvaccinated, so yes, the message is there that this keeps going because of low vaccination rates and people have traveled,” Young said.

She said the health care system is at a breaking point in the county with staffing issues, packed hospitals, and low resources such as antibody treatments.

Antibody treatments can be taken to curb COVID-19 symptoms and keep people out of the hospital, but the treatments are in short supply.

“We are very fortunate to have had antibodies, but we are in a nationwide surge, so we are getting very, very little supplies as far as antibodies,” Dr. Young said.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard said they only have half of the antibody treatments requested for the state.

“West Virginians need to understand that antibodies and anti-viral take time to be produced, and right now nationally the supply chain is not keeping up with the needs for those, and therefore in West Virginia we do not have significant available supplies. As a matter of fact, we have about half of what we asked for,” Hoyer said.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department urges people to get vaccinated to help protect themselves and discourage the spread of the virus.

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