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Upshur County moves to orange

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County was classified as orange Thursday on the state Department of Health & Human Resources COVID-19 color map.

Free community testing will be provided today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School parking lot.

Also today, another free COVID-19 screening will be offered at the Barbour County Fairgrounds — the second at the location this week — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Barbour County moved to orange on the DHHR map on Wednesday.

A press release from the Upshur County Commission on Thursday states:

“As of 11:30 a.m., there are currently 33 active cases of COVID-19 in Upshur County; therefore, we have 96 confirmed cases, 2 probable and 64 recovered.

“The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department is closed to the public until further notice as extensive contract tracing is taking place.

“Free community testing will be provided Friday, October 2nd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School parking lot.

“As a reminder, the Governor of West Virginia declared a State of Emergency on March 16, 2020 and the Upshur County Commission declared a local State of Emergency on March 20, 2020. These emergency declarations are still in effect.

“Local leaders want to remind residents not to panic and to follow State and CDC guidelines in order to keep family members and the community safe. It is imperative for quarantined individuals to follow the guidelines provided to them. If you have been in contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, please self-quarantine until the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department contacts you.

“If necessary, continued information will be released by the Upshur County DHSEM emergency notification system via landline or wireless phone, text message, email, TDD/TTY and social media.”

An Upshur County Board of Education press release on Thursday afternoon stated:

“As of Sept. 26, Upshur County Schools was ‘Green’ on the WV School Alert System Education Map (that system which guides WV school attendance). Today the WV Department of Health and Human Resources County Alert System map moved our county from “Gold” to “Orange”. According to that map, Upshur County’s daily incidence rate, based on a seven-day average and adjusted per a population of 100,000, is 15.95. Upshur County Schools is monitoring the situation closely and maintains regular contact with the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department.

“We will have school tomorrow, Friday, October 2 and Group B will attend. If families decide to keep children at home, it will be an excused absence. Again, please remember, if children do not feel well, do not send them to school.

“If Upshur County is orange on Saturday, October 3, when the West Virginia Department of Education releases its School Alert System map, Upshur County Schools will be required to transition to full remote instruction for the next week. If we move to orange, athletics and extra-curricular activities will be limited to conditioning only, as defined by the WVSSAC. Food delivery will remain on Wednesday according to the afternoon bus run schedule. Back packs will be delivered on Friday. Please monitor our website and social media for updates on times for these deliveries.

“As always, our Upshur County Schools custodial staff will perform a daily deep cleaning and disinfection of our facilities. Bus drivers will continue to disinfect buses after all runs.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all navigate these challenging times. Remember to follow all CDC, WVDHHR, and Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department guidelines, and do your part to slow or stop the spread. With everyone working together, we can lower the numbers of positive cases in Upshur County.”

On Thursday evening, Barbour County Schools Superintendent Jeff Woofter posted on the Barbour County Schools Facebook page that the school system will continue distance learning through the end of next week. “This will give us time to get our students and staff through the quarantine period and will hopefully stall the spread of the virus,” Woofter wrote.

His post also stated:

“At the time of this writing, we have documented the following:

“1. Belington Elementary School: 0 students positive, 5 staff positive, 11 staff quarantined. 1 of the positive staff and 1 of the quarantined staff are eligible to return.

“2. Belington Middle School: 1 student positive, 1 staff quarantined.

“3. Junior Elementary School: 1 student positive, 4 staff quarantined, 1 class quarantined.

“4. Philippi Elementary School: 2 students positive, 2 staff quarantined, 1 class quarantined.

“5. Philippi Middle School: 1 student positive, 1 staff positive, 2 staff quarantined.

“6. Kasson Elem./Middle School: 1 student positive, 1 staff positive, 5 staff quarantined, 1 class quarantined.

“7. Philip Barbour High School: 1 student positive, 2 staff positive, 2 staff quarantined.

“8. Bus Garage: 1 staff quarantined.

“Alderson Broaddus had a mechanical situation that required the closing of their main athletic facility on their campus last spring. We agreed to help our neighboring institution and signed a Memorandum of Understanding that stipulated that their athletic teams could use our facilities with the understanding that they would be limited to particular areas, at particular times and they are required to clean and disinfect the areas they use after each use.

“I have seen where some people in the public are blaming Alderson Broaddus University for the infections in the school system and the fact of the matter is that only 1 staff quarantine and 0 positive tests involving students or staff in Barbour County Schools have been linked to ABU and the 1 staff quarantine was the parent of a positive ABU student and had nothing to do with use of our facility.”

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