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Health department: COVID cases may go up after holiday

WOODSFIELD — The Monroe County Health Department has had few active COVID-19 cases over the past couple of weeks, and officials hope it will remain that way following the Fourth of July weekend.

Linda Masters, administrator, said she hopes not to see a spike in cases in the coming weeks after many gatherings were held to celebrate the holiday. She said she is concerned about the population that remains unvaccinated and may have participated in cookouts and parties for the holiday. She urges people who feel sick to stay home and get tested.

“It’s still out there,” she said of the coronavirus.

Masters said the virus can still spread among those who are not vaccinated and encourages residents to “come out, get vaccinated and help keep the cases low.” She said the department will hold numerous walk-in vaccination clinics in different communities throughout the county. She said the staff wants to ensure everyone has access to the vaccine.

“We’re just trying to get out there and make sure everyone has the chance to get the vaccination. We want to make it convenient for them and reach any of the population where travel is maybe an issue. We want to be there and be available,” she said.

The clinics will have the Moderna vaccine for any county resident age 18 and older. The next clinic will be held from 10 a.m to noon Thursday at the Beallsville First Christian Church. The times, dates and locations of other scheduled clinics are as follows:

∫ July 13 — 9-11 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the health department;

∫ July 14 — 10 a.m. to noon at the Lewisville Community Center Pavillion;

∫ July 21 –10 a.m. to noon at the St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Woodsfield;

∫ July 27 — 9-11 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the health department;

∫ July 28 — 8:30-10 a.m. at the Sardis United Methodist Church.

Masters said appointments for the clinics are not necessary and walk-ins are encouraged.

“Hopefully we’ll have a good turnout at those,” she added.

The health department also offers clinics throughout the week at its headquarters, located in Woodsfield. Interested residents can call 740-472-4299 to make an appointment.

The upcoming clinics will only be available for adults, as the county has not received enough interest yet to hold a youth clinic, Masters said.

“We’ve hardly had any response from the age group, the parents of the children. We haven’t had enough of an interest to do a clinic yet,” she said.

Although the health department is not planning to hold a youth vaccine clinic in the near future, Masters said the staff is able to refer the parents to a local provider where children ages 12-17 can receive the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for that age group. She said the health department is anticipating a bigger response once school is back in session. According to the Ohio Department of Health, around 35 percent of county residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Both the Moderna and Pfizer versions require two shots.

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