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B-U COVID-19 Community Task Force: Residents have a crucial role to play in local response

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon-Upshur COVID-19 Community Task Force stressed the importance of residents’ roles in minimizing the spread of COVID-19 at its April 3 teleconference.

Task force members reported observing many gatherings throughout the community along with residents not abiding by social distancing recommendations from the WVDHHR, CDC, and many other officials.

At a minimum, residents should:

Follow social distancing recommendations like the following:

  • Limit trips out to the extent possible.
  • Plan weekly supply or grocery trips, and when making those trips, allow six feet of space between persons.
  • Check with your neighbors to see if one person on your block can make a single trip for supplies for several households.
  • Send one person per family or group into grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.
  • Remember social distancing guidelines while outside. Keep six feet between you and those around you (except for family units that live together – for example, holding a small child’s hand while taking a walk).
  • Continue to practice good hand hygiene with soap and water for 20 seconds, or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol.

Consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order that closes state park campgrounds, the Upshur County Commission closed the James W. Curry Park Campground until further notice, and the Buckhannon City Council recently closed all parks in the city except for the River Walk and Jawbone Park. At the River Walk and Jawbone Park, picnic tables will be removed to both discourage large gatherings and to prevent the spread of the virus, which may live on surfaces. Minimizing virus spread is also why city parks with playgrounds have been closed.

During the call, the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department reported that there had been no new positive-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Upshur County as of Friday morning, April 3. To date, there has been one positive-confirmed case of COVID-19 in Upshur County, which was reported on Thursday, March 26.

Partners reported on the arrival of personal protective equipment to support the on-going response. The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, along with the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, continues to distribute supplies as received from state authorities. Other entities, like the Upshur County Senior Center and West Virginia Home Health, are also working with their state-level counterparts to ensure access to protective equipment.

If any local businesses or residents would like to donate personal protective equipment, including gloves, gowns, homemade masks, etc., they should contact the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management at 304-472-4983.

There are no plans to schedule drop-offs for donations. To support social distancing measures, the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management will collect business and resident contact information and make that information available to providers who may need supplies. Providers can then reach out to those wishing to donate directly.

Residents should remain confident in the response and other infection control measures throughout the city and county, and stay informed.

Seek information from trusted, reliable sources. Those sources include the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) and WVDHHR (https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx) websites, which contain updated information about the COVID-19 virus. Governor Jim Justice’s website contains information about the state’s response: https://governor.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx. Visit http://www.upshurcounty.org/alert_detail.php and http://buckhannonwv.org/covid-19/ for additional information on accessing county and city services. Residents can now follow the Upshur County Commission on Facebook for updates (@upshurcountycommission).

Partner agencies such as St. Joseph’s Hospital, Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, Upshur County Schools, the City of Buckhannon, and the Upshur County Commission will also continue to release details specific to their programs and operations through various local media outlets.

As a reminder, according to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, and include:

  • Fever,
  • Cough, and
  • Shortness of breath.

The Buckhannon-Upshur COVID-19 Community Task Force is a coalition of stakeholders representing the health department, medical providers, the county and city governments, as well as emergency response agencies, educational providers, social services agencies, and civic organizations. The task force also includes representatives from daycare centers, public housing authorities, nursing homes, etc.

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