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Randolph’s active cases top 100

The Inter-Mountain photo by Edgar Kelley Area residents visit the free COVID-19 testing site the National Guard set up in the Randolph-Elkins Health Department parking lot Monday. The National Guard will be offering free testing at the Tygarts Valley Fire Department today through Friday.

ELKINS — Active COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Randolph County, and local health officials are saying the local spread of coronavirus is the worst it’s ever been.

The fact that last week’s 42 active cases had more than doubled to 98 at the start of the day on Monday, is a cause for concern for local citizens. But what’s even more problematic is how fast new cases are coming in. By mid-afternoon Monday, 16 new positive cases were confirmed, officials said, putting the county well past the100 mark.

“The big rise in active cases is very troublesome for our community,” Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist, said Monday afternoon. “For every one person that tests positive, it’s hard to say how many people they’ve been in contact with. The more positives that we have out there, the higher the risk that you’re going to be exposed from somebody.”

Gov. Jim Justice mandated last week that anyone entering public buildings must wear a mask. Woodrum said following the governor’s guidelines is the only way to slow down and stop the spread of the virus, which has now claimed the lives of 585 West Virginians.

“The mask wearing is so important because there are so many people who are not showing symptoms but still spreading COVID around,” she said. “And that’s where most of the exposures come from. I mean you don’t go up and talk to people you know are positive. It’s the ones that you don’t know about that get you. And it shows a complete disregard for other people if you don’t wear a mask. You are just saying I do not care about you.”

The Inter-Mountain photo by Edgar Kelley The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at Davis Health Center in Elkins had plenty of traffic on Monday as citizens took advantage of the service.

The National Guard was onsite at the Health Department doing free testing again on Monday and will move to the Tygarts Valley Fire Department in Dailey for the next four days to continue testing. The free testing will be offered from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday.

Several businesses in the area have closed their doors because of employees testing positive for COVID-19, officials said. The Beverly Post Office was cleaned after a COVID-19 case.

Statewide, coronavirus numbers have spiked with 2,708 news cases reported in the past three days. There are now over 10,000 active cases in West Virginia and hospitalizations are at a record high.

The Center for Disease Control also recommends community use of masks, specifically non-valved multi-layer cloth masks, to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread.

The CDC released the following statement: “Masks are primarily intended as source control to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets. This is especially relevant for asymptomatic or presymptomatic individuals who feel well and may be unaware they are infectious. These cases are estimated to account for more than 50 percent of transmissions. Masks also help provide personal protection for the wearer by reducing the likelihood of inhaling infectious droplets. The community benefit of masking for COVID-19 control is due to the combination of these effects. As the number of people using masks consistently and correctly increases, so does the individual prevention benefit.”

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