CHARLESTON, W. Va.–It’s been three years since the onset of Covid-19 and by mid-March of 2020 the virus had started making its way to West Virginia, leading health departments across the state to start enforcing policies to help contain it.
This was, of course, no exception for the Jackson County Health Department, who were among the many health organizations providing weekly updates and eventually Covid-19 testing. MetroNew’s affiliate WMOV Radio in Ravenswood sat down with Jackson County Health Administrator, Amy Haskins, to discuss the local evolution of the disease that shook the world.
Haskins told WMOV that they did not predict the magnitude of what was in store. She said they thought it would be like any other sickness such as the seasonal flu that would start to curb by summer.
“Back three years ago we probably never would have imagined that we would still be in this three years later, or two and a half years later,” said Haskins.
Haskins said that Covid changed the game for health departments everywhere, as they had to learn how to handle a disease that seemed entirely new from anything they had dealt with before, from varying kinds of symtoms to the numerous ways it seemed to affect everyone differently.
She said it also opened up many other problems apart from a world and statewide health crisis, but that it specifically accentuated the problems that the Jackson Health Department were faced with, such as underfunding and understaffing.
However, she said with the help of volunteers and partner organizations that assisted with testing among other necessary actions, they were able to get through the worst of it, but she added that it was a series of navigating the issue from day to day.
“It certainly kept us on our toes over the last two and a half years, because, you can walk in with an agenda and within 15 minutes that agenda is just blown out the window and you have to figure out how to handle the problem the best you can,” Haskins said.
The Jackson Health Department is now offering Covid-19 vaccines to all students, and Haskins said it doesn’t matter their age.
“Whether you’ve got a preschooler, kindergartner, 7th grader, 12th grader, leaving for college, whatever your situation may be, we’ve got that vaccine for you,” Haskins said.