TAYLOR COUNTY—After the free COVID testing began on Monday, the county saw an increase in positive cases, and after receiving a large number of positive cases after just one day, health officials had individuals undergo additional testing.
“On Monday we tested approximately 94 people, and on Tuesday we had another 64 individuals,” said Grafton-Taylor County Health Department Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn. “Then on Wednesday, we tested 24 people and another 49 on Thursday.”
He said that on Monday, after receiving a high number of positive results, patients underwent additional testing to ensure the numbers were correct. Since that time, some of the initial positives were deemed false positives or probable cases.
“After that process was completed, we still have recorded 10 positive cases from Monday,” he noted. “We also had an additional two positive results from testing done through WVU Health Monday. Then on Tuesday, we added two and on Wednesday, we had an additional positive report come in.”
He said that overall, the county added 15 cases in a 3-day period, which is a number that causes concern among health officials.
“We are at 139 total cases, with 23 active, and if we go into the orange category, the governor will require increased testing for the county, and the National Guard is already on board to help with that,” Thorn reported. “I never thought that we would see this many cases come in all at once.”
He further revealed that the school systems are now being affected by the virus.
Taylor County Superintendent of School Christy Miller reported that Flemington Elementary School was forced to close down on Friday, due to exposures.
“We have had two service personnel members test positive, with limited exposure, so, we wanted to be proactive in our approach to ensure the health of our students and staff,” she disclosed. “It was not worth the risk to send anyone in there.”
She said that the school was undergoing deep cleaning, much the same as is being done on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“We are going ahead and sending a memorandum out to staff members reminding them to adhere to the protocols very closely that have been set up,” Miller commented. “I was on a call yesterday with the WV DHHR, WVU Hospital Systems and many superintendents across the state, and learned that 72 percent of cases in schools can be traced back to adults, with only 28 being traced back to students.”
She said that school employees were being reminded that as adults, they need to double down on their efforts to help protect each other, the community and most importantly, the students.
“We are in the most significant community spread that we’ve had in Taylor County at this point,” voiced Dr. David Bender, County Health Officer. “We really need to work to make sure we are following the recommended guidelines.”
County health officials are urging residents to take the proper measures to help curb the spread of the virus. Those measures include mask wearing, social distancing, limiting family members at stores and the frequent washing of hands.
The health department is still conducting free daily community testing at their mobile drive-thru site, located at the First Baptist Church of Grafton on US Route 119, Monday-Friday from noon until 2:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary, and testing is done on a first-come, first-serve basis.