by Kate Evans Morgan County has 16 new cases of COVID-19 reported as of Friday, September 16 for the week of September 9 to September 15. County COVID transmission levels remain at medium level, according to the Morgan County Health Department Facebook page. The week of September 2-September 8 there were 26 new COVID cases. As of Monday morning, September 19, Morgan County had 8 active COVID cases. Morgan County is back to green on the state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) COVID transmission dashboard map after a brief spell of being yellow. Most of the state’s counties are yellow at present. Cases, vaccinations Morgan County has had 4,110 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 674 cumulative probable cases of the virus-a total of 4,784 COVID cases as of Monday, September 19. Some 4,705 county residents have recovered from COVID-19. As of this week, 71 county residents have died from the respiratory disease since 2020. Of those, 17 are known as “breakthrough deaths,” meaning that the individual had been vaccinated against COVID. Some 33.5% of Morgan County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 17.1% of county residents have gotten their COVID-19 booster shot as of Monday. Schools Morgan County Schools had four student COVID cases at Berkeley Springs High School and two Warm Springs Middle School staff with COVID along with two student COVID cases during the week of September 8 to September 15. There was also one student COVID case at Warm Springs Intermediate School. COVID vaccines, boosters On Monday, President Joe Biden said publicly that the COVID pandemic was over, but said the country still has “a problem” with the spread of the respiratory disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends that people ages six months through four years receive all COVID-19 primary series doses. The CDC recommends that everyone ages 12 years and older get an updated COVID-19 booster when eligible. The updated booster provides broader protection against newer BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants. People ages five years old and older should get all primary series doses and the booster dose recommended for them by the CDC, if eligible. Those ages five years to 11 years are recommended to get the original (monovalent) booster. People ages 12 years and older are recommended to get one updated Pfizer or Moderna (bivalent) booster. This includes people who have received all primary series doses and people who have previously received one or more original monovalent boosters. At this time people aged 12 years to 17 years can only receive the updated Pfizer bivalent booster. Getting a COVID vaccine after recovery from a COVID-19 infection provides added protection from COVID-19. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have different recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. Ways to reduce illness Wear a face mask indoors in public places to protect yourself and others when county COVID-19 transmission rates are at high or substantial levels, if you are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 or if you are immunocompromised. Wear a mask at any time as a precaution to protect yourself and others. That can be effective against other seasonal illnesses such as influenza, too. Keep your distance from others, avoid large gatherings, wash your hands frequently, clean and disinfect frequently used items and surfaces, stay home when sick and get vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu. Residents can make an appointment to get a COVID-19 booster shot at local pharmacies, physician’ offices or by calling the Morgan County Health Department at 304-258-1513.