Coronavirus

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources on Monday announced additional free Covid-19 testing events in eight counties.

"As these counties are experiencing increases in Covid-19 cases right now, we encourage all residents to take advantage of these free testing events," said Dr. Ayne Amjad, state health officer and commissioner of DHHR's Bureau for Public Health. "Testing is vital if you are experiencing symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue or body aches, or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19."

Pop-up events will be held through April 10 in Berkeley, Boone, Fayette, Hardy, Jefferson, Morgan, Putnam and Raleigh counties.

Fayette County events are as follows:

April 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — J.W. and Hazel Ruby West Virginia Welcome Center, 55 Hazel Lane, Mount Hope.

April 8, 3 to 6 p.m. — J.W. and Hazel Ruby West Virginia Welcome Center, 55 Hazel Lane, Mount Hope.

April 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Smithers Gateway Center, 1 Greyhound Lane, Smithers.

In addition, the following pharmacy sites offer recurring testing every week in Fayette County:

Fayette County Health Department, 202 Church Street, Fayetteville — Monday and Wednesday, 9 to 11 a.m. For an appointment, call 304-574-1617.

Walgreens, 1201 Main Street, Oak Hill — Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For an appointment, visit https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing.

Free Covid-19 testing is available to all West Virginia residents, including asymptomatic individuals. For daily Covid-19 testing events, as well as additional periodic and pharmacy testing events, visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/pages/testing.aspx.

Also, West Virginians may pre-register for their Covid-19 vaccination at vaccinate.wv.gov or locate a vaccine at www.vaccinefinder.org.

• • •

Earlier last week, a resurgence in Covid-19 cases pushed Fayette County past the 3,000-case mark since the onset of the pandemic in the region in the spring of 2020.

In December, Fayette County had 607 confirmed cases, according to case numbers on the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' website. January followed with 614 cases before the situation improved dramatically. There were just 279 confirmed cases in February, albeit in fewer days. March started off in a positive fashion — with 55 total cases in the first 10 days — before the numbers started creeping back up to close out the month with 346 cases.

From Saturday, March 27 to Friday, April 2, 123 cases (confirmed and probable combined) were logged in Fayette, and two county citizens lost their lives to the disease, according to DHHR data. The two weeks prior to that included fewer than 90 cases each week in the county.

Twenty-eight of the 123 cases (22.8 percent) for that week occurred in the 10-19 age group.

As of April 6, there were 360 active Covid-19 cases in Fayette, compared to 293 on March 27. The number of active cases in the county stood at 509 on Jan. 27 before eventually dipping to 266 on Feb. 23.

In the DHHR morning update on April 6, Fayette had 3,102 cases.

• • •

Case outbreaks in schools — fueled at least in part by extracurricular activities — have helped drive the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases in Fayette County, and elsewhere.

Midland Trail High School was the latest school in the county to be sidelined because of a Covid-19 outbreak, and the school entered a second straight week of remote learning on Monday, April 5.

According to Fayette County Schools Superintendent Gary Hough, Covid-19 cases and ensuing quarantine protocols will make it necessary for high school and middle school students at the Hico school to stay home and continue to learn virtually.

Extracurricular activities at the school remain in a holding pattern.

From Sunday, March 21 to Wednesday, March 31, FCS officials announced 30 Covid-19 cases in county schools, with 18 of those cases occurring at Midland Trail. Hough said there were about 120 staff and students at the Hico school in quarantine late last week.

Hough said Thursday county officials are currently monitoring nearby elementary schools, Ansted and Divide.

A remote learning scenario occurred at Meadow Bridge High School in early March after nearly 30 cases were reported at the school and more than 100 staff and students were quarantined at one point. Also, several county school athletic programs have experienced Covid-19 pauses in recent weeks due to cases and subsequent contact tracing/quarantining.

On March 19, the Fayette County Health Department revealed that the first case of the more aggressive U.K. variant of Covid-19 had been discovered in an individual in the county.

The fact that the U.K. variant has now been identified within county borders means the quarantine period for everyone is 14 days, Hough said. Individuals who are not in school athletics were previously on a 10-day quarantine cycle, he noted.

On Friday, April 2, a posting on the Fayette County Health Department's Facebook page indicated that the increasing prevalence of the U.K. variant, which is 1 1/2 times more transmissible, led to the recommendation of a 14-day quarantine period to help prevent spread.

"Community immunity begins with each of us," the posting read. "It is vital that each of us continues to make the choice to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus."

More information can be obtained at: http://bit.ly/3jmo7Hk.

• • •

Beginning this week, Fayette County Schools is making the Pfizer vaccine available for students 16-and-older. The child must be 16 by April 5, 2021. Where applicable, parental permission will be necessary. The vaccine will also be available for staff members who haven't been vaccinated and want to be, Hough said.

A survey is available for parents to request a vaccine for their child. It is at the following link: https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=S7AZ4AwzekaLrgn7FzdNalGQz4pDKiBNmLtYFU8YerZUMFU2UkJTM0gwNVJRTVNDVlFLSUJFMUZGQy4u. A separate response is required for each child in a family. A consent form will be sent to parents/guardians to complete before the vaccine is administered.

School wellness center staff (Rainelle Medical Center at Meadow Bridge and Midland Trail and New River Health at Oak Hill) will administer the vaccines. Vaccines will be available on the following dates:

Oak Hill High — During the day at the school wellness center through April 9

Meadow Bridge High — Thursday, April 8, 1:30 to 6 p.m.

Midland Trail High — Monday, April 12, 1:30 to 6 p.m.

• • •

The West Virginia Dept. of Health and Human Resources reports that, as of April 6, there have been 2,499,807 total confirmatory laboratory results received for Covid-19, with 144,010 cases and 2,707 deaths.

DHHR has confirmed the deaths of an 85-year-old Raleigh County woman, a 57-year-old Wyoming County man, a 74-year-old Nicholas County man, a 78-year-old man from Barbour County, a 47-year-old Logan County man, a 97-year-old Monroe County woman, an 82-year-old Wood County man, a 97-year-old Wood County woman, a 77-year-old Logan County man, a 58-year-old Cabell County woman, and a 79-year-old Wayne County man.

"As we continue the fight against this pandemic, we are saddened by the loss of more West Virginians," said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR cabinet secretary. "The families of these residents are in our thoughts."

Cases per county through April 6 were: Barbour (1,323), Berkeley (10,978), Boone (1,785), Braxton (842), Brooke (2,076), Cabell (8,473), Calhoun (253), Clay (414), Doddridge (520), Fayette (3,102), Gilmer (732), Grant (1,205), Greenbrier (2,544), Hampshire (1,647), Hancock (2,650), Hardy (1,404), Harrison (5,226), Jackson (1,821), Jefferson (4,136), Kanawha (13,420), Lewis (1,113), Lincoln (1,368), Logan (2,957), Marion (3,993), Marshall (3,201), Mason (1,891), McDowell (1,431), Mercer (4,424), Mineral (2,679), Mingo (2,340), Monongalia (8,731), Monroe (1,029), Morgan (1,041), Nicholas (1,410), Ohio (3,913), Pendleton (670), Pleasants (822), Pocahontas (622), Preston (2,752), Putnam (4,654), Raleigh (5,746), Randolph (2,471), Ritchie (645), Roane (549), Summers (737), Taylor (1,161), Tucker (520), Tyler (664), Upshur (1,797), Wayne (2,776), Webster (450), Wetzel (1,195), Wirt (370), Wood (7,487) and Wyoming (1,850).

On April 5, the DHHR confirmed the death of a 42-year-old woman from Fayette County.

"Every life lost is one too many," said Crouch. "Protect your loved ones by continuing to wash hands, social distance, wear masks and schedule your vaccine."

On April 4, the DHHR revealed the deaths of a 77-year-old man from Ohio County and a 50-year-old man from Wetzel County.

On April 3, the agency confirmed the passing of five more West Virginians from Covid-19, including a 63-year-old Fayette County man. The agency also announced the passing of a 74-year-old Taylor County man, a 45-year-old Logan County woman, an 88-year-old Kanawha County man, and an 89-year-old man from Brooke County.

DHHR revealed on April 2 the deaths of a 74-year-old Jackson County man, an 83-year-old Putnam County woman, a 72-year-old woman from Hancock County, a 79-year-old Fayette County man, and a 94-year-old Harrison County man.

On April 1, the agency announced the deaths of a 95-year-old Jackson County woman, a 91-year-old Ohio County woman, a 77-year-old Raleigh County man, a 67-year-old Greenbrier County man, a 41-year-old Raleigh County man, an 84-year-old Berkeley County woman, and a 97-year-old Ohio County woman.

On March 31, the deaths of a 74-year-old Berkeley County woman and an 84-year-old Putnam County woman were confirmed.

As previously noted, DHHR's Bureau for Public Health, through its health statistics center, conducted a data match to examine Covid-19 associated deaths reported through death certificates, which revealed Covid-19-related deaths were not reported to DHHR.

These include a 34-year-old woman from Wayne County, a 78-year-old Tyler County man, a 93-year-old Preston County woman, a 47-year-old Wetzel County man, a 78-year-old Pocahontas County woman, an 88-year-old man from Randolph County, an 87-year-old Ohio County woman, a 78-year-old Logan County woman, a 73-year-old Cabell County man, an 89-year-old Wayne County man, a 67-year-old Marshall County woman, a 93-year-old Mercer County woman, an 85-year-old Putnam County man, a 78-year-old Greenbrier County man, a 73-year-old Berkeley County man, a 92-year-old woman from Jefferson County, a 78-year-old Logan County woman, an 80-year-old Braxton County man, a 92-year-old Wetzel County woman, a 56-year-old Kanawha County woman, an 84-year-old Greenbrier County woman, a 67-year-old Kanawha County woman, a 63-year-old Clay County woman, a 91-year-old Hardy County man, a 79-year-old Mercer County man, a 78-year-old Mineral County man, a 56-year-old Upshur County man, a 68-year-old Kanawha County man, a 59-year-old Putnam County man, a 78-year-old Harrison County man, an 81-year-old Boone County woman, a 68-year-old Hancock County man, a 95-year-old Wood County man, and an 86-year-old Monroe County man.

• • •

Fayette County was orange on the DHHR's county alert system map through the morning of April 6. The county had 5.16 percent positivity and an infection rate of 34.7.

Kanawha County was gold for the same time frame with 4.85 percent positivity and a 26.31 infection rate.

• • •

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department announced Monday there are 13,561 total Covid-19 cases in Kanawha County, up 24 cases since Sunday. Of those, 11,431 were confirmed cases and 2,130 were probable cases.

Active cases were at 523, and recovered cases stood at 12,734.

The total number of deaths in Kanawha County is 304.

Email: skeenan@register-herald.com or follow on Twitter @gb_scribe

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