Health officials remain guardedly optimistic this week that positivity and infection rates for the Delta variant—which began its surge 10 weeks ago and seemingly reached its peak late last month—are continuing to decline.

This bit of encouraging information, they add, again represents the good news for this week. The bad news is the deaths attributed to the virus continue to climb.

As of Thursday, Oct. 7, the county’s death count was officially listed at 65 on the WV DHHR’s dashboard dating back to March 11, 2020, with 24 of these having occurred just since the Delta surge began on Aug. 1, 2021.

“There seems to be no question this particular wave is on the decline as far as the positivity and infection rates go, but the deaths are still running fairly high,” MCHD Administrator Keith Blankenship said this week. “But that’s because there are still a lot of people who have been battling this for a long time and are now losing their battle. Plus, there is a lag time between the deaths being confirmed and when they get officially listed on the DHHR’s dashboard.”

Blankenship said the current positivity rate for Mingo County is 8.39, which keeps the county in the red on the WV DHHR’s community alert system but also gets it back much closer to the orange category at 8.0 percent or lower.

He said the infection rat which at its highest point during this latest surge was 152.0 percent based on a 100,000 population, has seen the greatest decline and which currently stands at 53.67 percent.

The number of active cases for the last 7-day rolling average, Sept.27 through Oct. 4, was also fewer, down from 277 the previous week to the current 152.

Blankenship said booster shots for those individuals over the age of 18 who originally received the Pfizer vaccine, and who are at least six months out from having received their second shot, continue to be given daily throughout the county.

He said the Pfizer vaccine’s effective rate has essentially dropped to around 70 percent and requires the booster shot.

Because Moderna still has an effective rate above 90 percent, he explained, individuals having received this vaccine do not require a booster shot.

“It gets a little confusing, but the booster shot is only for Pfizer recipients. There is a third shot for the original Pfizer vaccine and a third shot for the original Moderna vaccine, but this third shot is for those people who have an autoimmune disease or had an organ transplant, or have HIV or AIDS,” he said.

Blankenship said the MCHD has also increased the number of testing sites throughout the county.

“Because there are several testing sites and days they’re being held, the easiest way is for people to go to our Facebook page and see where these sites are available and the times for them,” he said.

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