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Marion County health leader notes increasing coronavirus cases, declining interest in vaccines

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A leading Marion County health official says — much like other parts of the country — local coronavirus cases are increasing, and interest in getting vaccinated has declined.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources, officials have identified 37 active coronavirus cases as of Wednesday. The department also reports 55.4% of residents 12 and older have received at least one vaccine dose.

“For a long time, we did really well. This past week, we’ve seen the increase in the number of cases,” Marion County Health Department administrator Lloyd White told MetroNews affiliate WAJR-AM. “We have seen an increase in the number of delta variant cases as well.”

Health officials have stressed a majority of coronavirus-related deaths and hospitalizations involve people who have not been vaccinated.

“Clearly, the best defense against this or any variant is vaccination,” White said.

White said the health department has more than 1,000 vaccine doses that will expire at the end of the month unless demand increases.

“I’m really disappointed,” he said. “I would have hoped everyone would have gotten the vaccine and more people would have gotten the vaccine.”

Gov. Jim Justice said during Thursday’s coronavirus briefing his administration will do more to review person protective equipment quantities and hospital bed availability. Justice added he is not considering reinstating the statewide mask mandate at this time.

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