Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department officials don't expect to be back in this building until August, but they're serving patients at a temporary location on College Avenue. / My Buckhannon file photo

More COVID-19 cases reported Monday afternoon as health department cautions disease may mimic other conditions

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department reported a handful of new cases of COVID-19 Monday afternoon – four more than the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources report released that morning.

The health department, which typically has the most up-to-date local information, reported a total of 85 cases for Upshur County Monday afternoon.

“We have a total of 22 active cases, and 63 people have recovered,” health department nurse director Sue McKisic said.

That’s up from the 19 active cases the health department cited Sunday evening.

McKisic said that at this point, the new active cases are not considered community spread, which means the health department has determined where all the cases originated. In this instance, McKisic said there wasn’t one single point of origin, but she did not go into further detail about where the latest cases are believed to have come from.

“When it’s not community spread, what it means is that we can track everything back to an origin, and we’ve been able to do this here,” McKisic said. “Right now, we’re all in this together, and we need to treat everybody like they could potentially be carrying the virus.”

She pleaded with parents not to send their students to school if they’re sick.

“Don’t go out if you’re sick,” she advised adults. “Wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social (physical distancing) and don’t let down your guard.”

In addition, McKisic cautioned Upshur County residents that symptoms could surface in other ways beyond the typical battery of symptoms that include a fever, persistent dry cough, shortness of breath and a loss of taste or smell.

“We’ve seen it mimic a 24-hour stomach bug in individuals, and it’s also been mimicking sinus infections and allergies,” she said. “We’ve had so many people who thought they had a sinus infection and they ended up testing positive for COVID-19.”

The key in telling the difference between a sinus infection or seasonal allergies and COVID-19 is to monitor symptoms. If a sinus infection persists or allergies present more severely, are longer lasting or don’t seem quite “normal” for you – and don’t go away on their own – McKisic said she recommends getting tested for COVID-19.

“It’s mimicking so many things that we need to err on the side of caution,” she said.

Read more about all facets of COVID-19 from protecting yourself from it to how it impacts daily life and mental health here.

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