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Active virus cases continue to spike in Randolph County

ELKINS — Local residents are being urged to heed health officials’ warnings about wearing a mask in public as the number of COVID-19 active cases continue to rise in Randolph and surrounding counties.

The number of active cases in Randolph County grew from 45 on Friday to 68 as of Monday afternoon, officials said during a COVID-19 update conference call for county leaders Tuesday afternoon. Randolph County currently has the second worst infection rate in the entire state behind only Barbour County. On Sept. 15,there were just 22 active cases in Randolph County.

“It’s in our community big time and if we want any normal, then we have to follow the guidelines,” Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist, said during the conference call. “No matter what your politics or what you believe, or the fact that you feel great or think it’s no different than the flu, right now it’s causing lots of trouble and we would like very much to slow it down or get it out of our community.”

Woodrum also pointed out that unlike in the past when cases were limited to specific areas, coronavirus is now more widespread throughout the community.

“It’s pretty hairy right now and it’s spread throughout the county,” she said. “Everybody needs to wear a mask when they’re around others at all times. That’s the only way we are going to slow it down.”

The Elkins-Randolph Health Department is currently contact tracing between 400 and 450 residents who may have come in contact with someone infected. The National Guard was called into Elkins to do testing on Friday and continued to do so on both Monday and Tuesday in the parking lot beside the health department.

“Testing does not clear you from potential infection,” said Woodrum. “If you have been exposed you need to quarantine for 14 days after the last date of exposure. We’ve had people test several times during their quarantine period and tested negative each time. We had one lady who tested positive on the 14th day and had a person test positive on the 12th day, and so that’s the reason the incubation period is 2 to 14 days. And it’s even possible to test positive after the 14th day.”

Woodrum said that essential service workers can be retested after five days and may return to work if they test negative at that time, and follow strict protocols.

“For people who are deemed essential service workers, they can wait until the fifth day and be tested and if they test negative they can go back to work,” she said. “But that’s only with strict, strict precautions. And when they’re not at work they are supposed to be strictly quarantined. They can mow the lawn, but they are not supposed to go out into the community when they are on quarantine.”

Testing is still ongoing throughout the area, including at the Davis Medical Center, which has expanded services at the drive through testing facility, which is now staffed with a mid-level provider, offering testing for COVID-19, influenza, RSV and strep.

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