Mercer County health officials urge the public to get vaccinated as COVID-19 cases surge


PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — Mercer County is on high alert as COVID-19 cases increase in the county.

The county had 900 cases of COVID-19 in August and the rate of transmission shows no signs of slowing down, according to Roger Topping, the Administrator for the Mercer County Health Department.

“If this continues until the end of the month, we will far exceed the number of cases for September,” Topping said.

Hospitals across the state are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients in the ICU and emergency room.

With increased wait times and a lack of capacity, health officials ask everyone to only call 911 and go to the hospital if it is a true emergency.

“If you call us and we take you to the ER and you’re not a true emergency, just because you came in an ambulance doesn’t move you to the front of the line,” said Stacey Hicks, CEO of Princeton Rescue Squad.

The message from Mercer County Health Officials was clear, they are pleading with the public to get vaccinated.

“Trust me when I tell you that the research is done,” said Karen Bowling, CEO of Princeton Community Hospital. “These are safe vaccines that have already been evaluated and there are many people now that were the trial recipients that have received this vaccine for over 18 months that are doing well.”

President Biden recently issued an executive order mandating companies with 100 employees or more to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all workers. A decision that will not only impact tens of millions of Americans, but health officials believe it will make a difference in Mercer County.

“When you’re talking about a company that has over 100 employees, you’re talking about a company that’s trying to survive and the only way they can seem to survive is to vaccinate,” said Topping. “You can’t have 70 percent of your employees vaccinated and the 30 percent not and expect your company to run efficiently.”

Health officials in Mercer County do not think they have hit the peak of this latest surge, and are bracing for a tough winter.

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