West Virginia health officials say it’s still too early to determine with any amount of certainty that the Delta surge has peaked.

The surge began in early August and since has drastically increased the number of cases and deaths across the state and nation.

However, health officials also say a slight drop in the number of state cases in recent days could be a good sign.

There were 1,784 cases confirmed statewide during the last seven-day rolling average between Sept. 13 and Sept. 20, compared to the previous seven days that topped out at 1,822 cases.

On Sept. 16, there were 2,242 cases reported for that day, compared to 1,337 cases reported on Monday of this week.

“On average that’s still only about five and a half cases a day that it’s dropped between the previous 7-day rolling average to the current one, but because (state health officials) originally believed that the surge would last about three months and then begin decreasing, they think we could be on the decline,” said MCHD Administrator Keith Blankenship.

Blankenship said state health officials originally targeted Sept. 21 for the surge to hit its peak.  He said the end of October was being targeted as the time cases should begin leveling off to where they were at the beginning of August, which he explained at that time were at a little more than 100 a day for the state.

Some additional good news, Blankenship said, is the possibility that county health providers — such as Williamson Health and Wellness Center and Logan Mingo Health in Mingo County — will soon be able to begin administering monoclonal antibody treatment.

He said an IV dispenses this treatment to people diagnosed with the virus and ostensibly helps an individual’s body fight off the infection before it gets its head.

“Right now we’re waiting for confirmation on the antibody treatment, so that’s yet to be decided for certain,” he said. “But we’re hoping we’re going to get the go-ahead because if it’s given early it potentially can prevent someone from getting really sick with COVID and having to be hospitalized.”

Blankenship said Mingo County has been hit particularly hard since the surge began nearly two months ago, having had 655 new cases thus far in September alone with 12 additional deaths since Aug. 1.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 22, the county’s overall death total stood at 57, which is a notable increase of seven from last week, he said.

Blankenship said vaccination opportunities, including a third shot for specified health compromised individuals who are deemed candidates by their health provider, are still available on selective days at fixed locations at WHWC, Hurley Drug, and the MCHD.

He recommended people to call these sites for times. He said the FDA and CDC have not yet approved a booster shot for anyone.

The MCHD’s mobile unit is still providing vaccinations at different locations throughout the county. Individuals are being advised to visit the MCHD’s Facebook page for locations and hours of service, as they are determined.

Two new testing sites have been made available, one at Delbarton on Tuesday and the other at Southern WV Health System in Gilbert on Wednesday. The other sites continue to be the Kermit Fire Department on Tuesday and Thursday; the 7-Eleven in Williamson on Thursday; WHWC on Tuesday and Thursday; and Hurley Drug Monday through Friday.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 22, Mingo County had a positivity rate of 14.38 and an infection rate of 151.25, once again keeping it in the red for both categories on the West Virginia DHHR’s alert system map.

Although there was a slight increase in the infection rate this week (last week’s was 145.76), this week’s positivity rate represents some improvement over last week’s, which was at 15.06.

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