FCHD

Earlier last week, a recent 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 less 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 the morning 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 7, Fayette had 3,111 cases.

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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 is the latest school in the county to be sidelined because of a Covid-19 outbreak, and the school is currently in its second straight week of remote learning.

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 last 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.

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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. Registration for vaccines is scheduled as follows:

Oak Hill High — During the day at the school wellness center beginning the week of April 5

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

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

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

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