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Threat Preparedness

We know it's spring, but COVID is still out there. Be careful!

We know it's spring, but COVID is still out there. Be careful!

Mar. 31, 2021

By Mary Wade Burnside

We get it. The days are getting warmer, spring is in the air and after a year of being cautious, it’s understandable that many people want to get back to at least a semblance of normalcy.

I’m one of them. I was looking forward to spring last year and instead I found myself shut up in my house when I wasn’t performing job duties that had become very stressful and time-consuming.

In addition to the scrambling that was the hallmark of Spring 2020, there was also a huge fear of the unknown: How does COVID-19 spread? How will I deal with it if I get it? How long will stay-at-home measures last?

And so on.

Now, the unknowns are still out there but they are fewer, and West Virginia has one of the best vaccination rates in the country.

So this year, as the days are getting warmer and we at Monongalia County Health Department have incorporated dealing with COVID-19 into our daily duties, I am really glad it’s spring and plan to take advantage of it by spending more time outdoors in the ensuing months. 

But I’m still well aware that COVID is still out there and is still a threat, especially as more dangerous variants emerge around the world and in Monongalia County.

And, after a slowdown, cases have started to rise again. On Thursday, the state reported 433, the first time that figure had topped 400 since Feb. 26. And then Friday, the number rose to 499 and then to 566 on Sunday.

So even though I’m fully vaccinated, I’m still playing it safe for now.

I still wear my mask when I’m around just about anybody other than close family. I still wash my hands a lot. I have gotten my at-home workout routines down and still have plenty of movies and TV shows to stream to keep me entertained.

I’m keeping in touch with my out-of-town friends via Zoom, emails and texts. I hope we can visit this year. We’re waiting to see what happens with this new rise in cases and the variants. And Zoom is great for a lot of things, like taking at-home but in-person yoga or other fitness classes anywhere in the world where they are offered to stream

So when will I return to the in-person, pre-pandemic activities I used to do? I haven’t set a date. I’m taking it day by day.

Because that’s how a pandemic works. As much as we want to, no one can flip a page on a daily calendar and say, “Today is the day.”

We get it that people want to do some traveling. The Centers for Disease Control offers recommendations on how to do that safely at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel. It includes testing requirements for anyone arriving in the United States via airplane, advice specific to your destination and more. And if you were contemplating a cruise, the CDC strongly advises against it.

Those restrictions might be a bummer for some. But I prefer to look at the progress that has been achieved compared to where we were a year ago.

And, if we continue to be smart about our choices, how much better it could be this time next year.

Mary Wade Burnside is the public information officer at Monongalia County Health Department.

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