Health care workers from New River Health conducted 197 Covid-19 tests at its weekly Wednesday testing at the old Kmart store in Oak Hill. Fayette countians have several opportunities for free testing this coming week.

Dr. Anita Stewart is hoping county residents will be leaders in the coming weeks.

Citing an unsettling increase in positive Covid-19 cases in West Virginia, including 13 in Fayette since July 1, Stewart, the Fayette County health officer, is fearful that trend may continue.

"I anticipate that this will continue, unless we can get our community to be the leaders in West Virginia, and do what is right for their neighbor — wearing face coverings, performing good hand hygiene, practicing physical distancing, limiting travel to essentials only, and staying home when sick," Stewart said. "Although these things seem basic, they can greatly slow the spread of Covid-19."

Through the 5 p.m. report by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources on July 11, Fayette County had 79 cases. There have been 204,914 total confirmatory laboratory results received for Covid-19, with 4,146 total cases and 96 deaths.

A total of 163 new cases was recorded statewide in the 24 hours preceding the report.

According to Stewart, recent positive cases in her county have been attributed to the Fayette Nursing and Rehabilitation Center outbreak, community spread and travel. And, involved are "a mix of cases in regards to demographics," she said.

As of Friday, there were no hospitalizations. There are 10 active cases at home, which includes four Fayette Nursing and Rehab patients at the nursing home. A total of 65 were recovered.

Stewart said all staff and residents at Fayette Nursing and Rehab had been tested twice by the end of the week. That does not include, however, the individuals who already tested positive. They will not be re-tested until they recover.

As of Friday, four residents and one staff member had positive results, said Stewart. The home page of American Medical Facilities Management, which owns the Fayetteville nursing home, also listed four positive patients for the Fayetteville site on its website as of July 9.

All of the positive patients have been isolated to a pod with dedicated Covid-19 care staff, air filtration and a zippered barrier wall, Stewart said. The facility has also increased sanitization and will be using a UV light, too.

All results from the second round of testing at the nursing home were negative, Stewart said Friday afternoon.

Stewart said the health department will be giving out masks at its upcoming testing events, as well as working with local community leaders to distribute masks for use.

"We are going to businesses with new mask signage from the CDC and offering masks there as well, to help encourage compliance with the new executive order," she said. "We will be launching our media campaigns next week targeting youth (Generation Z vs. Covid-19, a media launch for youth to increase awareness for the disease) and featuring businesses that have gone above and beyond to keep customers and communities safe."

Additionally, the FCHD is working closely with the Fayette County Board of Education to guide reopening efforts for the coming school term.

Local testing opportunities for the coming week include:

Monday, July 13 — Smithers; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; partnership with Fayette County Health Department and New River Health Association

Tuesday, July 14 — J.W. and Hazel Ruby West Virginia Welcome Center, Mount Hope; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; partnership with Fayette County Health Department and Mount Hope Fire and EMS

Wednesday, July 15 — Old Kmart, Oak Hill; 10 a.m. to 2 p;.m.; partnership with Fayette County Health Department and New River Health Association

New River Health staged its weekly testing event this past Wednesday, with 197 tests administered. To date, NRHA has administered nearly 500 tests, with two positives registered.

According to the DHHR, confirmed cases per county (case confirmed by lab test/probable case) through Saturday, July 11 at 5 p.m. included: Barbour (19/0), Berkeley (512/19), Boone (33/0), Braxton (5/0), Brooke (23/1), Cabell (192/6), Calhoun (4/0), Clay (12/0), Fayette (79/0), Gilmer (13/0), Grant (18/1), Greenbrier (71/0), Hampshire (42/0), Hancock (38/3), Hardy (45/1), Harrison (115/0), Jackson (148/0), Jefferson (248/5), Kanawha (398/12), Lewis (21/1), Lincoln (9/0), Logan (36/0), Marion (105/3), Marshall (62/1), Mason (24/0), McDowell (8/0), Mercer (62/0), Mineral (63/2), Mingo (28/2), Monongalia (510/14), Monroe (14/1), Morgan (19/1), Nicholas (20/1), Ohio (140/0), Pendleton (15/1), Pleasants (4/1), Pocahontas (36/1), Preston (77/16), Putnam (85/1), Raleigh (73/3), Randolph (185/2), Ritchie (2/0), Roane (12/0), Summers (2/0), Taylor (22/1), Tucker (6/0), Tyler (10/0), Upshur (24/1), Wayne (123/1), Webster (1/0), Wetzel (34/0), Wirt (6/0), Wood (175/9) and Wyoming (7/0).

The DHHR has confirmed the death of a 68-year-old female from Ohio County.

To increase COVID-19 testing opportunities, the governor's office, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, DHHR, WV National Guard, local health departments and community partners provided free Covid-19 testing for residents in counties with high minority populations and evidence of Covid-19 transmission.

The two-day testing resulted in preliminary numbers of 5,826 individuals tested: 807 in Marshall County, 262 in Mercer County, 2,955 in Monongalia County, 730 in Preston County, 301 in Wayne County, and 771 in Upshur County.

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

Anyone who feels they need to be tested for Covid-19 is urged to call their primary health care provider or the FCHD at 304-574-1617.

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

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