The Greater Greenbrier COVID-19 Task Force met [on January 25, 2022] via conference call and reports the following information.
1. GREENBRIER COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT. We are experiencing our highest recorded COVID case counts since the pandemic began, even though today we have at-home tests available and active cases last for 5 days as opposed to the previous 10 days. Omicron is now by far the most prevalent variant in the state, more than 90% of COVID cases in the state are Omicron. Vaccinations are the best way to guard against serious illness and death. Approximately 89% of deaths in WV are among those who did not receive a vaccine. We are seeing repeat cases (people getting COVID a second or third time) among the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. This Omicron surge is not expected to peak until the middle of February in our state. Masks do help cut down on transmission and remain a helpful tool. A properly-fitted mask, preferably a KN95 or N95, is the best option to cut down on transmission. Demand for testing is very high right now. We appreciate your patience as we do our best to work with test and medical providers. Please show grace to those who are working hard each day to protect our community.
2. MAVERICK LABS provides free drive up, in car COVID testing at the State Fair parking lot ticket booth, 9:30am – 3pm Monday-Friday, and Sundays 10am-4pm. If Greenbrier County Schools are delayed or closed, Maverick Labs will also be delayed or closed.
3. GREENBRIER COUNTY SCHOOLS. The current CDC guidance allows those who test positive to leave isolation after 5 days and continue to wear a mask for another 5 days. It’s the same guidance for those who are exposed to a positive case. This guidance allows us to get folks back in school a little faster. The “Test to Stay program” is going well and parents have been appreciative of the free take home COVID tests.
4. GREENBRIER VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER. Currently, we have 16 COVID patients in-house, 3 of whom are on ventilators.
5. WVSOM. Students have returned to campus. Rapid tests were provided to all students who may have been exposed prior to returning. Staff are allowed to work remotely if exposed. The school increased the protocols for student labs to include masks and face shields.
6. ROBERT C BYRD CLINIC. We’re providing drive-up COVID-19 testing Monday-Friday, 9am to Noon, and 1pm-3pm. Please call (304) 645-3220 to make an appointment. Please be careful out there. Since the first of this year we have seen around a 30% positive testing rate for COVID tests, as well as a lot of flu. This means that ⅓ of every COVID test has come back positive. We have COVID vaccines available as well as flu vaccines. Don’t forget that people in the community can order free at-home COVID testing kits from the Federal Government through the Post Office by going to https://www.covidtests.gov/. There are very few monoclonal antibody treatments currently available because the Food and Drug Administration has limited the use of some types of monoclonal antibodies since they have been shown to not be effective against the Omicron COVID variant.
7. RAINELLE MEDICAL CENTER. Calling to make an appointment for COVID testing or a vaccine is the best option (304-438-6188). COVID testing is available everyday by appointment. We don’t have monoclonal antibody treatments currently because of the changes in emergency use authorization. We are seeing a significant number of flu cases, and we do have flu vaccines available. COVID test results continue to take 48-72 hours or sometimes longer to return due to high volumes.
8. COMMITTEE ON AGING. Our centers remain closed for activities and meals (Fairlea and Rupert), but we continue to offer in-home/delivery services. We are also continuing to provide all regular services. Masks are required at our facilities.
9. HOMELAND SECURITY & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. We report any EMS or first responder shortages on a weekly basis. We are in good shape right now locally. Although first responders have tested positive and there have been some breakthrough cases we’ve had no impact on services. Six WV National Guard Personnel will support Greenbrier Valley Medical Center onsite starting in February. The two WV National Guard personnel that have been embedded with the Greenbrier County Health Department will rotate out at the end of this week.
10. WV SENATE. After meeting with Sen. Manchin this morning, West Virginia will be receiving a significant shipment of monoclonal antibodies in the near future.
11. THE GREENBRIER. We’re hosting a community blood donation drive at the Greenbrier Sports Performance Center on January 27th, 11am-4pm. Blood supplies in the USA are very low. Please consider making a donation. Please contact The Greenbrier’s Human Resources to make an appointment at (304) 536-7831. THIS IS NOT A WALK-IN CLINIC, MUST CALL TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.
Submitted by Julian Levine, Task Force member.