Health officials ahead of the curve with testing in Taylor County

TAYLOR COUNTY—During Friday morning’s COVID-19 pandemic update call, Dr. David Bender, Taylor County Health Office, revealed that it is his belief that the virus is now hiding out in the community.
“It seems as if we may have community transmission at this point, because we cannot contact trace the recent cases back to any contact outside of Taylor County or any sick individual,” said Bender. “That is something we need to keep in mind, that the virus is our community hiding. We have to continue to be very vigilant about our efforts.”
Bender said that it was also an interesting thing to note that of the eight positive cases we have, the majority of those cases involved first responders and health care officials.
“It should be noted that of the eight cases, five of those have involved those groups of people,” reported Bender. “I know that is a very small sample size, but it is a very sensitive population of folks, along with the nursing homes and person care facilities.”
In an effort to help protect those who may be of highest risk of being negatively affected by the virus, the personal care homes in Taylor County have all undergone testing, at the suggestion of the county’s health officials.
The tests from the patients at Beulahland, Home Away From Home and the patients who were retested at Taylor Health Care Center have all returned negative results for the virus, according to Shawn Thorn, Threat Prep Coordinator from the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department.
“We have been ahead of the curve here in Taylor County. Governor Justice just announced an executive order that assisted living centers and daycare centers were mandated to be tested, and we already had ours completed before this was issued,” said Thorn. “So, we should pat ourselves on the back here in Taylor County for leading the way.
Delegate Amy Summers shared with the group on the call that she was pleased to let the Governor’s Office know that the testing had already been completed, locally.
“I was speaking with the Governor’s Chief Counsel yesterday and he was telling me how the order was going to come down, and I let them know it had already been completed in Taylor County, so they were really excited that we were thinking ahead of the game,” she reported.
Bender also noted that a retest of all employees from Taylor Health Care Center took place on Thursday and Friday, and those results should come in over the weekend or at the beginning of next week.
Thorn also revealed that the West Virginia National Guard would be carrying out sanitation and decontamination of used N95 masks used by organizations and entities within the county.
The used masks can be dropped off at the Taylor County Health Department no later than next Friday, May 15, and new masks will be issued by the health department.
“We should note that what we send to them for decon, will not be the same number of masks we get back, because a small portion of the masks would be kept for testing purposes,” voiced Deputy Chief Michael Kochka, Co-Director of the Taylor County Office of Emergency Management.
However, Thorn said that for every mask the organization provided to him would be matched with a clean mask from the health department.
“Again, this is for agencies and organizations only,” he revealed.
The Grafton-Taylor County Health Department is open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., for drop-off. Should you need to make arrangements for another time, please call Thorn at 304-669-2729.


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