CYCLING – Over the past week, both Ohio County’s metrics on the state’s COVID-19 map have increased nearly five-fold, indicating the rapid spread of the virus among the county’s unvaccinated population.

Ohio County reported an infection rate of 2.76 percent and 1.3 percent positivity last Thursday, according to the State Department of Health and Human Resources map. By Thursday, the previous day’s numbers had risen to 13.11 and 5.75, respectively. The county’s reported active cases had also almost doubled from 23 to 45.

Howard Gamble, Health Administrator for Wheeling-Ohio County, said most of them speaking to the people who reported new infections were linked to traveling outside of the state and, in some cases, across states. Some others were family members or shared households with the travelers.

“We see a lot of travel and when they come back these people have been to several places outside of the Ohio Valley and they’ll be positive.” Gambling said.

Gamble said that even with relatively good Ohio County’s vaccination – around 62% – there was still a significant chance the virus could spread and spread. He added that while the Northern Panhandle hasn’t seen the more contagious Delta variant of the disease – the next reported cases are four infected people in Wetzel County – it poses a risk for the future.

“We can still get it, fully vaccinated. We come back, we have mild symptoms but we don’t get tested and we go somewhere and pass it on to people who are not vaccinated. “ he said. “If all of this is the Delta variant, it is a bit more contagious than the COVID virus, it can be passed on more easily, and people get sick more quickly.

“The increase could be the result of (the fact) that we are currently vaccinated on 62% of the eligible people. If you introduce this virus into this population, it will find the nearest host. It found someone and when they come back it will find the next person very quickly. If you are still 40% unvaccinated, the next person will be found, and that next person will be mostly unvaccinated. “

Gamble said there have only been two groundbreaking cases of COVID among vaccinated people since Sunday. Gamble stressed that vaccination only affects the body’s response to exposure to the virus, and that a person who is repeatedly exposed can potentially get COVID, but generally with milder symptoms.

“One is a mother and she lives in the same household with several other positive children.” he said. “Even if we are vaccinated and we are around a virus, we will still ingest the virus. How our body reacts to this is how the vaccine works in the body. If the vaccine we took gives a good response, we won’t have many symptoms.

“… Some (vaccinated) are tested because they only want to see because their household is sick and there are no symptoms. Others have mild symptoms – you can say they have a snotty nose, sniff. The symptoms are very mild and they ride this quickly. In contrast, many of our unvaccinated people are very sick. “ he added.

Gamble said there are reports and anecdotal evidence that hospitals are seeing a surge in COVID patients, which is becoming increasingly common across the country.

“We have anecdotes (reports) that people are being hospitalized, but we have reports that confirm that the hospital now appears to be busy with positive people.”

Gamble said the health department is resuming regular COVID testing in response to the recent surge in cases. Tests are offered at the former main entrance of the OVMC from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“We have the ability to slow this down, manage cases, and before that surge, we did it. It doesn’t matter if it was a case every two to three days or more, but if you throw in five or six (a day) we go back to the old style when we were just launching vaccines and between the administration ranged the cases and Vaccination.

“Then we vaccinated and we cut the numbers, but you reintroduce the virus and you have the unvaccinated, it will spread to everyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated, there is a risk. I just wish we could do it, so that we can do it instead of having to respond to this big reaction we have to do. “

Latest news and more in your inbox