TAYLOR COUNTY—The county’s positive Coronavirus case count continues to climb, and health officials are calling on residents to do their part to help curb the spread of the virus.
On Thursday evening, within a matter of an hour, two new cases were reported, bringing the county’s total count 21. Both patients are in their 50’s and it is reported that initial investigation showed potential out-of-county contact.
“One of these positives came from an individual who’s only possible exposure that they had any idea of was that on Saturday, they went to shopping in Morgantown, and by Wednesday they were showing symptoms,” Dr. David Bender, County Health Officer said. “By Thursday, they were testing positive for the virus. I am urging Taylor County residents to stay out of Morgantown right now.”
He reported that Monongalia County had turned into a hot spot.
“It’s not just a local or regional hotspot, but for this week at least, it’s a national hotspot. There have been well over 100 cases there in the past week, with most due to community spread,” Bender expressed. “It’s probably not a good week to go to Mon County for shopping, gasoline, dining, etc.”
Thorn added that the Threat Preparedness Coordinator in Monongalia County hit the nail on the head by saying, “It’s not what restaurant you are coming to or what bar you are going to, it’s simply coming to Monongalia County. The whole county is a danger zone and those who can, should stay away.”
Then, on Friday morning, the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department announced they had recorded the county’s 22 positive COVID-19 case.
The patient, in their 40s, is believed to have contracted the virus due to out-of-town travel. With this positive case, it brought the county up to seven active cases.
Bender noted that the number of tests being performed has increased significantly this past week.
“This week, through Thursday, we have completed 157 tests through our drive thru site, and seven of those have been positive,” he explained. “Our drive thru site positivity rate, for just this week, is 4.5 percent. That is probably the highest percentage positive coming through the site.”
Bender voiced that staying home is a great way to help curb the spread, as well as following the guidelines. He shared that when you combine group gatherings without the proper use of masks, the results are inevitable.
“Group size has continued to be an issue throughout all of this. People need to limit their exposure to large groups,” he noted. “Certainly, mask wearing is going to help us decrease our infectivity here, as well.”
Bender suggested individuals congregate in groups of 10 or less and maintain a proper social distance.
“If there are more than 10 people in your group, please at least wear a mask. If there are more than 25 people in a closed space, even with proper masking you are just asking for trouble,” he cautioned.
One of the issues health officials what people to be aware of is that people can be infected and be around others, spreading the virus, before they begin to show symptoms.
“The night before symptoms appeared for one of the recent cases, the patient had attended a bible study, and three to five people were then deemed high risk because they had spent 15 or more minutes within six feet of her, without a mask on,” Bender said. “If we are going to come together, we certainly need to be smart about it.”
He said that individuals should make sure to have their masks on and continue to keep in mind the social distancing protocols.
“We are seeing a good percentage of our current cases coming from community spread and because of out of town travel,” said Grafton-Taylor County Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn. “So, I’m going to start saying what I was saying in the beginning of the outbreak—shop local and stay local.”