Covid trends wrong way in Hampshire

“I would certainly hate to get this far into spring and see things reverse — and there goes graduation and prom,” she said Monday.

In 6 days, Hampshire County’s incidence rate — the percentage of positive cases per 100,000 population —mushroomed from 2.47 (last Tuesday) to 16.07 on Monday.

That pushed the county from green to yellow to gold to orange on the state’s 5-color map tracking the spread of Covid-19.

The county had 13 new cases on Sunday alone, bringing the active total to 25 with 1 person hospitalized. Two weeks earlier the county had only 5 active cases.

The good news Shoemaker sees in the numbers is that hospitalizations are not rising here, although they are across the state and nation.

The bad news?

“I’m worried about Easter,” she said. “There were a lot of large family gatherings like everything was just normal, no masks.”

If Easter turns out to be a super-spreader event, the numbers will be worse in another week to 10 days.

Shoemaker predicted that any surge in positive cases will be accompanied by more people getting tested.

“Most people, if they’re a contact being traced, want to come in and be tested,” she said.

Lowering the guard against the virus may be an inevitable result of the rising number of people being vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, 3,294 county residents have been fully vaccinated and another 5,400 have been partially vaccinated.

The Health Department is conducting weekly mass clinics for vaccinations, but Shoemaker said those may not go on for much longer.

With the number of new registrations for vaccinations starting to decrease, she said the model likely will shift to in-office visits at the health department.

In addition, Shoemaker noted, more pharmacies are offering vaccinations, including the Walmart in Keyser.

The expansion of vaccinating sites comes with another increase in vaccines being delivered to West Virginia.

As of this week, 78,000 doses are being delivered to the state each week, up from 52,000 a week ago. The state is targeting the Eastern Panhandle for increased vaccinations. As of Monday, Berkeley County was red status and Morgan and Jefferson counties were orange.

Shoemaker urged everyone to continue basic protections against the virus, wearing masks and socially distancing.

And, she cautioned, “If you start to feel under the weather, do the right thing and quarantine yourself so you can minimize that spread if you happen to have Covid.”

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