The Fayette County Health Department announced the death of another county resident from COVID-19 on Friday, May 29.

According to the department, a 95-year-old man succumbed to the disease, Fayette County's fourth death during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," read a press release on the health department's Facebook page.

"We join the family in grieving for this West Virginian," Bill J. Crouch, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary, said in his agency's Saturday morning update.

The most recent Fayette death was West Virginia's 75th COVID-19 fatality through Saturday morning. Since then, the DHHR confirmed on June 1 the death of an 80-year old man from Preston County and on June 2 the passing of a 52-year old Kanawha County man, both from COVID-19.

In the DHHR's report on Tuesday morning, June 2, confirmed cases in West Virginia (case confirmed by lab test/probable case) included: Barbour (9/0), Berkeley (303/11), Boone (9/0), Braxton (2/0), Brooke (4/1), Cabell (65/2), Calhoun (2/0), Clay (5/0), Fayette (50/0), Gilmer (10/0), Grant (11/1), Greenbrier (9/0), Hampshire (31/0), Hancock (17/2), Hardy (39/0), Harrison (39/1), Jackson (137/0), Jefferson (187/5), Kanawha (227/2), Lewis (9/0), Lincoln (5/0), Logan (17/0), Marion (50/1), Marshall (30/0), Mason (15/0), McDowell (6/0), Mercer (13/0), Mineral (45/2), Mingo (5/2), Monongalia (123/11), Monroe (6/1), Morgan (18/1), Nicholas (8/0), Ohio (42/0), Pendleton (11/2), Pleasants (3/1), Pocahontas (20/1), Preston (20/5), Putnam (35/0), Raleigh (15/1), Randolph (131/0), Ritchie (1/0), Roane (9/0), Summers (1/0), Taylor (8/1), Tucker (4/0), Tyler (3/0), Upshur (6/1), Wayne (102/0), Wetzel (9/0), Wirt (4/0), Wood (50/3) and Wyoming (3/0).

Fayette County Health Department Administrator Teri Harlan reported a total of six new positive cases in her county on Friday and Saturday, with five of those resulting from a drive-through testing event staged Thursday at Oak Hill High School. That boosted the total number of Fayette cases to 52, she said.

"We need to practice good, strong physical distancing, good hand hygiene and make sure people are wearing your face coverings when you're out in public," Harlan had stressed on Thursday in the midst of the OHHS testing session. "That's one of the best prevention methods.

"I know people get tired of hearing us saying it, but it really is what we need to be doing to see this thing through."

In the 52 confirmed cases, there have been four deaths, five are hospitalized, one is on a ventilator, 12 are at home and 30 are recovered.

"Please wear a mask or face covering when going out," read a Saturday posting on the department's Facebook page. "Please continue to practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently and properly."

Individuals who feel the need to be tested for COVID-19 should call their health care provider or the health department at 304-574-1617.

Last week was a busy one testing-wise for Fayette health officials.

On Tuesday, May 26, the health department had an availability for testing workers and children from an Oak Hill day care center. On May 22, a worker at A Place to Grow tested positive for COVID-19, despite being asymptomatic. Only a small number of tests was administered at Tuesday's testing opportunity held specifically for A Place to Grow, and Harlan said Thursday all results received came back negative. She wasn't aware of the status of the asymptomatic worker.

On the same day, 73 tests were registered at the Mount Hope Fire Department in partnership with Mount Hope Fire and EMS.

The next day, 77 individuals were tested during another event in Mount Hope, this one at the Kilsyth Freewill Baptist Church.

Finally, 165 were tested at Oak Hill High on Thursday. The Wednesday and Thursday sessions were in partnership with New River Health Association.

The week's tests were part of Gov. Jim Justice's initiative to increase testing opportunities for minorities and other vulnerable populations in medically-underserved counties. They involved the Fayette County Health Department, in coordination with the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, the DHHR, and the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG).

A drive-through testing event was to be staged on Tuesday, June 2 at the J.W. and Hazel Ruby West Virginia Welcome Center at Mount Hope. Harlan said suggestions have been made for possible testing events in locales such as Gauley Bridge and Meadow Bridge, but plans haven't been finalized.

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