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Kanawha County officials on Monday held a press conference to discuss concerns over the county's rising number of positive Covid-19 tests. The county and city officials urged everyone to wear a mask or face coverings in an attempt to slow down the novel coronavirus.

In a press conference Monday, officials from Kanawha County discussed the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the county.

Kanawha County Commissioners Kent Carper and Ben Salango, Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin and Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Executive Director/Health Officer Dr. Sherri Young were joined by several Kanawha mayors, including Montgomery Mayor Greg Ingram, in the conference at Capital High School. On Monday, 873 people were tested at a Kanawha-Charleston Health Department drive-up Covid-19 testing event at Capital.

"In just one month, we have seen an increase of Covid positive cases by 47 percent in Kanawha County," Salango said. "This can be attributed to travel, indoor gatherings and community spread.

"Now more than ever, we must urge citizens to wear facial coverings and continue to socially distance to stop the spread of this virus."

In a press release, Young said the largest case of community spread, due to a large gathering in a congregant setting, has resulted in 48 Covid-19 cases. "We can't let our guard down about this virus, especially not while cases continue to rise," she said. "If you're out in public, it's better to be outside. Please remember to stay 6 feet away from other people, avoid touching your face and wash your hands frequently. Remember to wear your face mask. Face masks are our best chance of stopping the spread of this disease."

"The increase in positive cases is alarming, as yesterday (Sunday) we saw the largest increase in cases statewide in one day," Carper said. "I have concerns about community spread and an increase in cases in our nursing homes and long-term care facilities again. Facial coverings must be worn to help protect our most vulnerable population and keep them out of the hospital."

"We must remain vigilant and protect ourselves and others from this virus," Goodwin said. "The upward trend in cases that is being seen nationwide is alarming and shows that we still have work to be done." Stressing the same safety precautions as others, Goodwin said, "We will get through this, but it will take a collaborative effort."

Goodwin said she and her fellow mayors realize that to keep businesses open and keep alive "a glimmer of hope" for students to return to their classrooms this fall, wearing masks is the "single-most powerful thing you can do to make sure that we are keeping our community safe."

As time goes on, Goodwin said that — even though the fatality rate is greater in elderly individuals — Covid-19 has infected the younger population, too, even a 1-year-old in Kanawha County.

Young said that, after many travel-related cases were reported earlier, there is now more community spread of the virus, including families, friends and churches. "Wear your masks and face coverings," she said. "With that, it's OK to go in public, but let's follow the recommendations."

As of 10 a.m. on July 22, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported there have been 242,262 total confirmatory laboratory results received for Covid-19 statewide, with 5,206 total cases and 101 deaths.

Through that time period, cases per county (case confirmed by lab test/probable case) included: Barbour (26/0), Berkeley (550/19), Boone (59/0), Braxton (7/0), Brooke (39/1), Cabell (220/7), Calhoun (5/0), Clay (17/0), Fayette (102/0), Gilmer (13/0), Grant (25/1), Greenbrier (80/0), Hampshire (51/0), Hancock (64/4), Hardy (49/1), Harrison (142/1), Jackson (150/0), Jefferson (269/5), Kanawha (540/12), Lewis (24/1), Lincoln (30/0), Logan (49/0), Marion (139/4), Marshall (85/1), Mason (30/0), McDowell (11/0), Mercer (74/0), Mineral (76/2), Mingo (63/2), Monongalia (752/15), Monroe (16/1), Morgan (21/1), Nicholas (22/1), Ohio (181/0), Pendleton (20/1), Pleasants (5/1), Pocahontas (39/1), Preston (92/22), Putnam (116/1), Raleigh (108/3), Randolph (200/2), Ritchie (3/0), Roane (12/0), Summers (2/0), Taylor (30/1), Tucker (7/0), Tyler (10/0), Upshur (32/2), Wayne (160/2), Webster (2/0), Wetzel (41/0), Wirt (6/0), Wood (204/10) and Wyoming (11/0).

Visit the dashboard at www.coronavirus.wv.gov for more detailed information.

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

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