Buckhannon-Upshur COVID-19 Task Force urges residents to celebrate Easter safely

BUCKHANNON — With the Easter holiday approaching, the Buckhannon-Upshur COVID-19 Community Task Force discussed ways for Upshur Countians to celebrate the holiday safely on the heels of the county’s third positive-confirmed case of COVID-19.

Like many communities, stakeholders in Upshur County want residents to enjoy celebrating Easter, but to do so without creating unnecessary coronavirus exposure. The task force hopes families will take advantage of online church services, and if they venture out for a drive-through service, they will observe six feet of distance between themselves and others to minimize exposure.

Task force members also encourage residents to utilize video chats, Facetime, etc. to visit extended family over the holiday weekend rather than traveling.

Locally, residents can spend the weekend holding family egg hunts in their backyards, decorating Easter eggs, or making cards to send to friends and family next week. Residents may also make signs or paint windows of their homes to recognize the contributions to the COVID-19 response made by medical service providers and first responders.

Click here for a list of Easter service options.

The task force also discussed Upshur County’s second and third positive-confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department reported that the cases were not community-based transmission and that investigations and contact tracing efforts were underway.

Members stressed that residents should not panic over these new cases. Rather, they should continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene, like the following.
• 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.
• Follow CDC recommendations for wearing cloth masks while in public.
• Remember to keep six feet between you and those around you when you are outside (except for family units that live together – for example, holding a small child’s hand while taking a walk).
• Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol.

Residents may be seeing media reports that COVID-19 cases in West Virginia may peak as early as mid-April (with other outlets estimating early May). The task force stressed that these estimates are not a sign that residents should ease social distancing efforts. Everyone should remember new cases will appear after the peak, and continued adherence to the Governor’s stay-at-home order and other social distancing measures like those above are necessary to minimize a second wave of infections.

As always, residents should seek information from trusted, reliable sources. Those sources include the following.
• CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
• WVDHHR: https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx
• Governor Jim Justice: https://governor.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx
• Upshur County Commission: http://www.upshurcounty.org/alert_detail.php or @upshurcountycommission on Facebook
• City of Buckhannon: http://buckhannonwv.org/covid-19/ or @buckhannonwv on Facebook

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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