Delta Variant now reported in area

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 6:17 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Just three weeks ago, West Virginia’s active COVID-19 cases were below 1,000. In the latest data released Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services, those numbers were again above 2,000.

And state health leaders say while vaccinations remain effective, they aren’t a panacea against the virus.

Dr. Clay Marsh, a member of the West Virginia coronavirus task force, has been increasingly concerned.

“We have seen hospitalizations go up, ICU admissions go up, ventilator use go up,” Marsh said during Gov. Jim Justice’s Thursday briefing, “and about 12% of people who have died in West Virginia are fully vaccinated, and about 9 1/2% of people in the hospitals being fully vaccinated in West Virginia.”

Ohio this month has seen similar trends. Memorial Health System says there’s been a “slight uptick” locally in the numbers of hospitalizations.

“Not significant numbers yet, but we have seen an uptick,” says Jennifer Offenberger, Communications Director, Memorial Health System, and a partner with Washington County’s and Marietta’s health departments. A“What we can’t tell you is how many are Delta Variant vs. how many are COVID-19.”

According to the latest DHHR numbers, Wood County now has two cases of the Delta Variant. Up until Thursday, it was none. No Delta cases are reported in surrounding counties, although local health officials are watching.

“We believe it is still very fluid,” Offenberger said Friday, “and we’ll have to make decisions often over the next couple of months.”

We asked: is it likely the Delta Variant is here in Washington County now?

Offenberger replied: “Yes, it can be very likely that it is.”

State officials and health experts in both West Virginia and Ohio still urge residents to get vaccinated, saying it is the best defense against the virus.

45% of Wood County residents and 43% of Washington County residents have received at least the first vaccine dose. 43% of Wood Countians are fully vaccinated.

Nearly half of West Virginia’s population is fully vaccinated.

Neither Governors Justice in West Virginia or DeWine in Ohio are calling for a return to the mask mandate. Right now.

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