More new COVID-19 cases reported in Upshur County on Monday, one person in ICU

The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department said one person is in an Intensive Care Unit as new COVID19 cases continued to surge locally Monday.

Since Friday, Upshur County has seen an increase of 11 cases, including two reported Monday.

“As of today we have had 32 confirmed and two probable cases,” the health department posted on its Facebook page Monday. “[We have] 15 active cases currently with one of those persons hospitalized in an Intensive Care Unit.”

The evening update from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources — which was delayed due to technical difficulties and often lags county announcements — listed 31 confirmed cases in Upshur County.

Statewide, 69 new cases were reported Monday, as well as one additional death — an 85-year old female from Ohio County.

Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department personnel told My Buckhannon that the seven new cases of COVID-19 reported Sunday were not related to the July 10-11 free testing events that took place at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and Tri-County Health Clinic in Rock Cave. A total of 865 people were tested at those sites, and the results are expected mid-week.

Nineteen people have recovered from COVID-19 in Upshur County.

“This infectious disease is for real, don’t be one that does not believe it’s real,” the health department cautioned on its Facebook page. “We cannot continue to see numbers climb as they have … we cannot have people hospitalized, we cannot overtask the system.”

The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department also confirmed Monday afternoon that Gov. Jim Justice’s order reducing crowd sizes to 25 means the Gambill Amusements carnival will have to close down by Tuesday.

Health department personnel said the governor had granted the carnival permission to open as of July 1, but cases have since spiked.

The order limiting crowd sizes pertains to almost all fairs and festivals, which are “for all practical purposes are gone for the season,” Justice said. The order isn’t applicable to outdoor pools, youth sports, weddings and church services, provided physical distancing is practiced.

Justice announced that the executive order reducing maximum crowd sizes from 100 to 25 people would go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 14.

The surge in cases is beginning to be felt in other ways, as well. Stockert Youth and Community Center announced Monday that all spectators at men’s basketball league games must remain in their cars.

West Virginia Wesleyan College, meanwhile, said they would be canceling all in-person alumni events for the fall semester, including homecoming.

In his virtual press conference Monday, Justice said he was closing down Monongalia County bars for at least 10 days. The governor noted cases are growing “absolutely at an alarming rate” in Monongalia County, particularly among people in their 20s.

“That [case growth level] is at twice the level of any other age group,” Justice said. “It is an issue and a problem, and if we say, ‘We’re just going to study this for a couple more days,’ for every day that we miss, many, many, many people who are asymptomatic are going to affect others.”

Justice indicated he’s been watching the pandemic unfold closely in Florida, Texas and Arizona, stressing the importance of wearing face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“This is not a time to be macho, this is not a time for grandstanding,” Justice said. “This is time for bravery. It’s no fun to close things and make mandatory masks…. but this is a no-fun time. Do you not understand that if things turn south, our rural hospitals would struggle, and absolutely we would lose person after person after person?”

Holding up a picture of people packed into Fairmont church service that was posted on social media, the governor again implored churchgoers to wear masks and sit every other pew.

“Look, I’m a Christian, and I’m really proud of it, and I truly understand the importance of church, and that is the highest priority in our lives and I get it,” he said. “Please, churches, understand that my order is mandatory for all buildings outside your home.

“If there’s any place on the planet we should be loving our neighbors, we should be [doing that there] in churches. If we don’t get things turned around, we’re going to have a lot of sad singing and slow walking because we’re going to have a lot of funerals.”

Justice also sounded a cautious note on schools reopening, saying that if classes were to begin today, they could not meet in-person. That comes three days after WVSSAC executive director Bernie Dolan said it would be up to the public — and their commitment to limiting the spread of COVID-19 — if sports are held this fall.

Nationally, more states are pausing or pulling back their reopening plans. Both Los Angeles and San Diego said they would not have in-person classes when the school year begins in August, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom closed indoor dining, movie theaters, zoos and more statewide on Monday.

On the East Coast, the Patriot League canceled their fall sports season, joining the Ivy League. The SEC was meeting Monday to try to chart a path forward as other conferences, such as the Big Ten and Pac-12, have moved to conference-only schedules.

 The National Junior College Athletic Association said Monday that all close-contact fall sports, including football, will move to the spring.

In West Virginia, new cases were reported Monday in Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Fayette, Grant, Hancock, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marshall, Mason, Mercer, Monongalia, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Upshur, Wayne, Wetzel and Wood counties.

About 1,333 West Virginia cases remain active, according DHHR data. Of the cases that are no longer active, 2,883 people have recovered and 97 have died.

CASES PER COUNTY (Case confirmed by lab test/Probable case): Barbour (20/0), Berkeley (518/19), Boone (34/0), Braxton (5/0), Brooke (27/1), Cabell (192/7), Calhoun (4/0), Clay (12/0), Fayette (84/0), Gilmer (13/0), Grant (21/1), Greenbrier (71/0), Hampshire (42/0), Hancock (41/3), Hardy (46/1), Harrison (122/0), Jackson (148/0), Jefferson (253/5), Kanawha (421/12), Lewis (21/1), Lincoln (9/0), Logan (39/0), Marion (106/3), Marshall (65/1), Mason (25/0), McDowell (8/0), Mercer (63/0), Mineral (66/2), Mingo (29/2), Monongalia (554/14), Monroe (14/1), Morgan (19/1), Nicholas (19/1), Ohio (147/0), Pendleton (15/1), Pleasants (4/1), Pocahontas (37/1), Preston (81/21), Putnam (90/1), Raleigh (80/3), Randolph (188/2), Ritchie (2/0), Roane (12/0), Summers (2/0), Taylor (22/1), Tucker (6/0), Tyler (10/0), Upshur (31/2), Wayne (127/1), Webster (1/0), Wetzel (37/0), Wirt (6/0), Wood (179/9), Wyoming (7/0).

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