On Tuesday, October 12, Putnam’s active Covid case number dropped to 324, the lowest since August 16. The county’s active case number has been declining since hitting 1,167 on September 16.
While shrinking case numbers are encouraging, Putnam remains red on the DHHR Covid Alert Map because the current infection rate of 62.51 per 100,000 population is 2.5 times the 24.99 rate required for an orange designation. Putnam is currently one of 18 West Virginia counties with a “red” designation.
The vaccine is effective and has played a large role in Putnam’s dropping numbers but the vaccine has not been able to defeat the coronavirus. There have been a number of breakthrough cases in which fully vaccinated individuals have contracted the virus. In most instances, the breakthrough cases are mild and followed by quick recoveries but there have been 196 breakthrough deaths. 156 of those deaths were individuals older that 71.
The DHHR is recommending booster shots for individuals with health issues who have been fully vaccinated for six months. In total, there have been 14,373 breakthrough cases in West Virginia. Some fully vaccinated individuals are more susceptible to breakthrough infections than others.
A study published October 5 by World Psychology has determined that individuals dependent upon alcohol, cocaine, opioids, tobacco or marijuana are twice as likely to be breakthrough victims than individuals who not experience substance abuse disorder (SUD). Those without SUD have a 3.6% chance of a breakthrough infection. Individuals with SUD experience breakthrough infections 7 percent of the time. Heavy marijuana users have a 7.8 percent breakthrough rate.
Spot testing results reveal that all breakthrough cases in Putnam County can be attributed to the Delta variant. The DHHR does not provide county by county breakthrough case numbers.
Covid vaccinations can be obtained at most Putnam pharmacies at no out of pocket cost.