While Putnam’s infection rate and percent positive testing numbers are looking better with each passing week, the number of vaccinations per thousand residents is well below the state average of 115 per 1,000.
As of Tuesday, March 9, 5,983 residents were fully vaccinated, a rate of 106 per 1,000. Statewide, 33 counties have a higher vaccination rate. Kanawha County’s vaccination rate is 167 per 1,000. Only three counties exceed Kanawha’s rate. Cabell’s vaccination rate is 124 per 1,000.
Putnam’s first-time vaccination rate is worse. As of March 9, Putnam first-time vaccinations numbered 7,921. This number, based upon population, has 51 of West Virginia’s 55 counties ranked ahead of Putnam. The state average is 183 per 1,000. Putnam’s first-shot rate is 140 per 1,000. Kanawha, in comparison, is 226 and Cabell’s is 195.
Putnam County Health Officer Dr. Michael Robie issued the following statement on March 4:
“With the Governor announcing lowering the age for vaccines, I wanted to update the community on our activity in Putnam County. Last weekend, we did almost 1100 Vaccines in one day. This is the most we have done in a single day so far. Early in the distribution, Putnam was only getting the minimum (320) doses of vaccine a week from the state.
“When the state reviewed population sizes over the age of 65, it was determined that Putnam County’s allotment needed to be significantly increased. We will be getting almost 1400 doses a week for the next two weeks. We want to use these doses to get every person over the age of 65 who wants a vaccine vaccinated. We will be using the state registry to pull names and will move on to those 50 – 65 once we feel all above 65 have received their doses. We are doing the best we can with the vaccines we are receiving. I encourage you to get any of the three vaccines you can when one is made available to you. All three vaccines are very effective in preventing severe disease from COVID. I see a light at the end of the tunnel, and with these vaccines, it gets brighter every day.”
Dr. Robie urges all residents 16 years of age or older to go to http://vaccinate.wv.gov to pre-register for the vaccine. Registration can also be made over the telephone by calling 1-833-734-0965.
Putnam County is currently displaying “yellow” on the DHHR Covid-Alert Map. The coloration is based upon a percent positive test rate of 3.25%. Statewide, 37 counties have a lower percent positivity. If the more demanding metric infection rate per 1,000 population were used, Putnam would have a “gold” designation. There are 31 counties with infection rates less than Putnam’s.
Putnam is unlikely to improve its statewide rankings until the county catches up in vaccination rate.