HUNTINGTON — Cabell County hit a grim milestone Monday, counting the 200th death related to COVID-19.
The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic also claimed the lives of 200 Cabell County residents, and it appears the county will fare worse now than it did 100 years ago.
An 85-year-old woman was the 200th death.
“The 1918-19 flu hit in three waves. We’re in COVID’s third wave peak, now. We will soon enough have time to compare the two pandemics, the lessons we’ve learned and those it seems we haven’t,” said Dr. Michael Kilkenny, health officer of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department. “Today, I’d reflect that our ancestors knew and loved people who died from the flu and we knew and loved people who died from COVID. I’d ask all Cabell Countians to do everything in their power to stop the increasing COVID deaths.”
There are 1,829 active cases of the virus in county right now. The most effective way to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19 is to get the vaccination.
Along with the Cabell resident, DHHR confirmed the deaths of 22 additional West Virginians. The number is partly due to a day’s long delay in reporting. The other victims were: an 87-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman from Summers County, a 52-year-old man from Fayette County, a 55-year-old woman, 66-year-old man and 71-year-old man from Mercer County, a 49-year-old man from Lincoln County, a 65-year-old woman from Berkeley County, a 77-year-old woman from Wayne County, a 48-year-old woman from Greenbrier County, a 64-year-old woman from Lewis County, a 90-year-old man from Preston County, a 90-year-old man from Lincoln County, a 71-year-old woman from Tucker County, an 80-year-old man from Monongalia County, a 79-year-old man from Putnam County, a 45-year-old man from Upshur County, a 79-year-old woman from Hancock County, an 89-year-old man from Wood County, an 80-year-old man from Mason County, an 87-year-old woman from Jefferson County, an 80-year-old man from Tucker County.
A group of nine hospital systems in southern Ohio issued a joint statement Monday urging residents in counties such as Gallia, Scioto and Mason (West Virginia) to use masks and get vaccinated “for the betterment of your loved ones and our communities.”
“With the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, our hospitals, emergency departments, and urgent cares are hitting record numbers. Many of the patients requiring hospitalization are experiencing a higher degree of illness than we have seen in the past, this is taking a toll on our associates,” the letter reads.
The presidents of Southern Ohio Medical Center, Adena Health System, Holzer Health System and more say that masking and becoming fully vaccinated will drastically slow the rate of spread of COVID-19 and the potential exposure of residents.
“What we are experiencing is very real. It isn’t a political issue; it’s a medical issue,” the letter continues. “When we look at our patient data, a vast majority of hospitalized COVID patients have not received a COVID vaccine.”
The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department thanked residents Tuesday for a recent increase in vaccination rates.
“We now have 46.1% of our population vaccinated,” the health department wrote on Facebook, noting it was a jump of nearly 6% over the last few days, or approximately 2,200 people.
“For comparison only approximately 4% of the population got vaccinated the previous 5 weeks,” the post continues. “Boyd Co. sat at 36.1% at the beginning of August. We still have a ways to go but wanted to take this opportunity to applaud our progress!! Lets keep this momentum going and put an end to COVID-19.”
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the federal government announced a change in the way COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments will be distributed among states due to supply shortages and demand across the country.
Monoclonal antibodies are synthetic, laboratory-created antibodies. They give patients a temporary immune boost, ideally helping people who are already sick have a milder disease. They do not teach a patient’s body how to create its own antibodies.
During the week ending Sept. 7, 3,642 treatment courses of monoclonal antibodies were used in Kentucky. As of Sept. 7, Kentucky hospitals have 9,363 monoclonal antibody treatment courses on hand. Currently, monoclonal antibody treatments are available at 139 locations across Kentucky.
Health care providers will no longer be able to order the treatments directly; instead, state governments will supervise the distribution of a capped number of treatments delivered to them each week.
“I have a concern that some Kentuckians who are hesitant about the vaccine are placing faith in monoclonal antibodies. What this shortage ought to tell you is that if you’re unvaccinated and you get really sick, not only might there not be a bed in the hospital for you because they are so full, but that monoclonal antibody treatment might not be there for you either,” said Beshear. “That thing you’re counting on might not be available. What is available, and there are no supply issues at all, are these safe and effective vaccines.”