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High COVID-19 transmission in Central Shenandoah Health District, but cases going down

Hypodermic needles await vaccine at a clinic.
Hypodermic needles await vaccine at a clinic.(WDBJ7 Photo)
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 9:24 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - COVID-19 transmission remains high in every city and county in the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD). The delta variant is present in at least 69% of cases, but they are going down.

COVID-19 cases were steadily going up all summer, and now the CSHD is beginning to see that slowly come down. While that is good news, Jordi Shelton with the CSHD said keep in mind, the cases are still here and the virus is still spreading.

It’s been nearly three weeks since the FDA approved the use of Pfizer booster shots for individuals 65 years of age and older, individuals at high risk of severe COVID-19, and those whose job or educational environment puts them at a higher risk.

Since then, the CSHD has opened large-scale vaccine clinics again at the James Madison University Convocation Center. Two weeks ago, almost 175 vaccines were given there, but this week, over 250. That was a mix of first and second doses and boosters.

The CSHD believes that meant people eligible for the booster may not know they are.

“I think right now our biggest challenge is helping folks understand when they fall into those categories and letting them know they can go to any of our clinics, they can visit a local pharmacy and receive that booster if they fall into those categories,” Shelton said.

An FDA panel is expected to meet this week to discuss Moderna and Johnson and Johnson boosters. If approved, Shelton said the health district expects to give many more Moderna boosters because that was the shot offered the most to the public at its vaccine clinics.

Another big challenge for the health district now is getting people vaccinated before they get together for the holidays.

The Valley saw big surges last holiday season, which the health district is hoping to avoid this year, especially as we are finally seeing local cases decrease.

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