6:00: Morning News

Eastern panhandle health official urges caution during holiday season

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. — Bill Kearns, head of the Berkeley and Morgan County Health Department is urging citizens in his district and around the state to be cautious with Christmas gatherings as COVID-19 cases surge.

Kearns told the Panhandle News Network that the holidays are not the time to be complacent regarding COVID-19.

“Our infection rate may go down a little bit one day or another but we are still sitting in the red between the infection rate and the positivity rate. It’s not a time to let your guard down,” he said.

Berkeley County is red on the COVID-19 alert map, with a 14.49 percent positivity test rate as of Wednesday. Morgan County is also red on the map with a 14.49 percent positivity test rate.

Kearns said there is hope on the horizon with the vaccine beginning to be distributed in his counties. He said the elderly and immunocompromised may see vaccines at the beginning of the year.

“People that are elderly, may have compromised immune systems. As those vaccines became more and more readily available, those are the next priority groups,” Kearns said.

“After those first responders and nursing homes which we have hit. We have got the vaccines out to those places already.”

Kearns is also a minister and noted how important this time of the year is for worship.

“It’s a great time to be in church to worship this time of year. You can do that, you can do it safely. Please while you’re in church, make sure you’re keeping a distance from those not in your immediate household,” Kearns said.

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