Taylor County experiencing three COVID-19 outbreaks


One local elementary school falls victim to the virus

TAYLOR COUNTY—Taylor County Health Officials have reported that the spread of COVID-19 has picked up in Taylor County, as Thursday, they reported eleven new cases in just one day.

“Yesterday was a bad day for Taylor County,” voiced Grafton-Taylor County Health Department Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn. “We added eleven new active cases yesterday, and this morning before the start of this call, we have already added two more.” 

With that announcement, he revealed that the county was now reporting a total of 30 active cases, with 17 more considered probable, 158 recovered and eight fatalities.

“A probable case means that a patient has recorded both a positive and negative test result, but has not undergone a confirmatory test,” explained Dr. David Bender, County Health Officer. “We are encouraging anyone in this situation to have the confirmatory test completed.” 

With the news of the additional cases, Thorn also revealed that the county is experiencing outbreaks in three different facilities.

“Currently, West Taylor Elementary School is reporting three positive patients, Oak Grove Baptist Church has yielded positive test results from four individuals, who are not Taylor County residents, and Arch Coal’s Leer Mining Complex currently has 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19,” he disclosed. 

Bender divulged that he had been in contact with mine officials, who reported they were following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control.

With the virus making its presence known in the county, the school system has seen an increase in both students and school personnel needing to be quarantined. 

On Thursday, Superintendent of Schools Christy Miller released the following announcement:

“Today, working with the Grafton Taylor Health Department, Taylor County Schools has confirmed one staff member at GHS and two bus drivers quarantined due to contact with a known positive. The Taylor County Board Office has a positive individual that will require three additional adults to quarantine due to being a contact to the positive. In addition, three students at Anna Jarvis, two students attending Taylor County Middle School and one student at GHS are quarantined due to being a contact with a known positive. We also have 2 students and 1 adult positive at West Taylor requiring two additional adults and one student to quarantine due to being a contact to the positive cases.”

She reported that contact tracing was underway and that all parties who may have been in contact with a positive patient would be notified accordingly.

 “In accordance with privacy laws, information specific to these cases will not be released publicly, however, details are being made available to keep the community informed of the transmission of COVID-19 within our schools,” Miller noted. “We urge you to continue to follow best health practices including wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, hand washing and cleaning protocols regularly.”

Both West Taylor Elementary School and the Taylor County Board of Education office were closed on Friday, to allow for deep cleaning at those facilities, as a safety measure to help prevent any further potential spread of the virus.

With an uptick in cases, Miller shared that she has notified all of the county’s school of a potential for a full remote learning situation in the near future, something she believes the county is prepared for.

 “I will be meeting with administrators and teachers today to address issues they are still having with technology and how to better assist students who are without internet access at home,” she added. “We are working daily to make sure we are following all safety protocols to ensure safe environments for our students and staff.”

Miller further revealed during the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Taylor County Board of Education meetings will be held remotely.

“We felt that this was the best method for us to meet, while keeping everyone safe,” she expressed. “We will begin operating under this virtual option with this Tuesday’s meeting, which will begin at 6:00 p.m.” 

Miller shared that those wishing to take part in the virtual meeting may do so by utilizing TEAMS. To join the meeting, please dial 304-553-7794 using ID 634420598#.

“We will continue to conduct our meetings virtually until further notice, sharing on our website how to join the meetings,” she added.

On Friday, Governor Jim Justice ordered that all county schools in the state would be closed from Thanksgiving until the following Thursday, to help prevent the spread of the virus from families meeting over the holiday. 

He further ordered that face coverings would now be required at all times, in all public building, unless an individual was actively eating, adding that businesses would be cautioned that if they were not following the mask mandate, shutdowns would result.

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