Another new COVID-19 case was reported in Upshur County Thursday evening, the fourth in two days.
In the last 48 hours, more than a dozen new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in counties along Route 33 corridor – Lewis has six new cases, Upshur four, Barbour one and Randolph five. A total of 42 new cases were reported around the state on Thursday.
The Lewis County Health Department also announced a coronavirus-related death in Lewis County, an 88-year-old female resident. That death – the second in Lewis County since the pandemic began — has not yet been included in the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources report.
Sue McKisic, nurse director for the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, told My Buckhannon that the health department has been busy contact tracing and notifying individuals who have potentially been exposed to the virus. The health department had not been notified of the fourth case as of 3 p.m. Thursday.
McKisic also issued a cautionary warning to residents acting as if the pandemic has passed.
“They need to wear masks,” she said. “They need to act as they did when this first started. They need to treat everybody as if they are potentially infectious. I’m going to Walmart, and I’m seeing people not wearing masks, but we need people to be on top of their game.”
McKisic said the health department has both disposable masks and washable masks available for free to distribute to businesses and individuals.
“Right now, we’re giving out two per individual,” she said.
Some local businesses, churches and events are curtailing services in response to the increase in local cases. In addition to what we reported yesterday, First United Methodist Church, Miss Piggies, Jackson’s Mill Jubilee and Camden Creek Primitives in Weston and Elkins have made COVID-19 related announcements this week.
“Due to a recent uptick in the COVID-19 virus in Upshur County, First United Methodist Church in Buckhannon will suspend in-person worship until further notice,” according to a Facebook post. “The Re-Start Team will meet mid-July to reassess the possibility for in-person worship. Please continue to join First UMC for online worship.”
Miss Piggies is now offering curbside pickup and to-go orders only.
“We are committed to doing our part to keep our customers and staff safe and will be doing curbside pickup and to-go only effective immediately,” reads their Facebook post. “Thank you for all your support and understanding as we all go through these stranger days together.”
The West Virginia State Fair, which had recently outlined plans for the 2020 event, abruptly reversed course on Thursday and announced this year’s fair will be canceled.
Jackson’s Mill Jubilee also said Thursday that the 2020 event in Lewis County is canceled.
“Out of concern for the safety of our crafters, musicians and guests, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Jackson’s Mill Jubilee scheduled for September 4-6, 2020,” according to a Facebook post. “We look forward to seeing our Jubilee friends and family on Labor Day weekend 2021.”
In addition to the new cases in Upshur and the surrounding counties, other parts of the state are also experiencing outbreaks in the wake of the governor’s orders removing most of the protective measures put in place in March.
Both Preston and Kanawha counties have linked new cases to vacationers returning from Myrtle Beach, and clusters in Greenbrier and Ohio counties originated in local churches.
In Upshur County, McKisic recommended that anyone returning from a recent vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina self-quarantine for 14 days.
“It’s not mandated that they do, but it is highly recommended that they do,” she said.
When asked whether COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals will be scheduled in Upshur County, McKisic said she did not have a firm date but that the health department is applying for testing grants.
“We are trying to acquire funding for that,” she said.
CASES PER COUNTY (Case confirmed by lab test/Probable case): Barbour (11/0), Berkeley (397/18), Boone (20/0), Braxton (3/0), Brooke (5/1), Cabell (77/2), Calhoun (2/0), Clay (10/0), Fayette (56/0), Gilmer (10/0), Grant (15/1), Greenbrier (42/0), Hampshire (40/0), Hancock (19/2), Hardy (40/1), Harrison (48/1), Jackson (141/0), Jefferson (208/5), Kanawha (248/8), Lewis (14/0), Lincoln (5/0), Logan (21/0), Marion (51/2), Marshall (36/1), Mason (15/0), McDowell (6/0), Mercer (16/0), Mineral (50/2), Mingo (9/3), Monongalia (133/14), Monroe (8/1), Morgan (18/1), Nicholas (7/0), Ohio (59/1), Pendleton (12/1), Pleasants (3/1), Pocahontas (21/1), Preston (30/6), Putnam (39/1), Raleigh (26/1), Randolph (146/0), Ritchie (2/0), Roane (11/0), Summers (1/0), Taylor (11/1), Tucker (5/0), Tyler (3/0), Upshur (10/1), Wayne (105/1), Wetzel (9/0), Wirt (4/0), Wood (52/4), Wyoming (6/0).