Health officer says variety of factors have increased Jefferson County COVID-19 cases

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Jefferson County is currently the only county in red on the state’s COVID-19 daily alert map.

Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Terrence Reidy said he saw it coming.

“Our positive cases and percent positivity has tripled in the past week,” Reidy said Monday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.” “We were stable for two weeks and then we started to go up.”

Reidy cites three reasons for the increase including wrong assumptions being made by some partially vaccinated residents.

“I’m hearing from many people that if they have had their vaccine, even one dose, they can go out with anybody and that really isn’t what the guidance is,” Reidy said. “Getting one dose doesn’t really protect you at all.”

Reidy said COVID-19 variants have showed up in the eastern panhandle and the reopening of schools has also increased cases.

“We’re seeing more kids with that but it’s not extraordinary but we’ll have to watch that,” he said.

Jefferson County’s increase cases hasn’t include a lot of older residents, Reidy said.

“There are much lower numbers of people 65 and above which are the groups that have been fully vaccinated than there are of the other age groups. I do think the data shows that the vaccine is effective,” Reidy said.

Reidy said Gov. Jim Justice’s announcement Monday opening up vaccinations to everyone 16 and older should help lower the higher numbers his county is experiencing.

“We have to immunize not just the most vulnerable but everyone if we’re going to look for lowering the rate,” he said.

The three eastern panhandle counties have started to get more doses of vaccine in recent weeks and vaccination numbers are now beginning to catch up with other parts of the state, according to Reidy.

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