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Coronavirus cases triple in Wetzel County

NEW MARTINSVILLE — Cases of COVID-19 in Wetzel County more than tripled in the last week, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and local sources say more than 60 can be traced to an outbreak at a nursing home.

The DHHR website reports that between Oct. 19 and Thursday, cases of COVID-19 spiked from 30 cases to 70. By Sunday, that number had climbed to 95, more than tripling in six days. The following day, the number had begun to recede, with 85 active cases reported Monday morning.

According to Dr. Richard Feifer, Chief Medical Officer at the New Martinsville Center, 47 residents and 33 staff members at the facility had tested positive for COVID, with two deaths reported. The vast majority of cases, Feifer said, were asymptomatic.

Wetzel County Health Department Administrator Dr. Karen Cain said the health department had been working hand-in-hand with the nursing home.

“We have been in constant contact with them, and we’ve reported what’s been going on with the state. It has caused our numbers to spike, because of the nursing home,” Cain said.

She added that COVID-19 testing would be performed today at the health department between noon and 4 p.m.

Cain declined to comment further on the increase in COVID-19 cases in the county, instead referring questions to the nursing home.

Elsewhere in the Ohio Valley, nursing homes and other long-term care centers continue to serve as epicenters of the disease. Guardian Elder Care, at Peterson Healthcare and Rehabilitation Hospital in Woodsdale, has 20 active cases of COVID-19 among its residents and six more among staff. The DHHR website reports a cumulative total of 21 resident cases and 11 staff cases there, plus one death.

In Marshall County, one resident at Mound View is currently positive for COVID-19, along with five staff members. One staff member at Cameron Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is reportedly infected with no residents reported positive.

Brooke County officially reports two cases among residents and nine cases among staff at the Weirton Geriatric Center. However, Stonerise Healthcare, which owns the Valley Haven skilled nursing center, reports 41 positive cases out of 45 residents.

The Brooke County Health Department confirmed Monday that seven staff members had tested positive, but the National Guard had stepped in to assist with the outbreak at the facility itself, and the health department could not confirm the exact number of affected residents. The residents affected by the outbreak collectively counted as one active case, for reporting purposes. Brooke County otherwise reports 24 active cases aside from Valley Haven.

A news release from Stonerise, issued Monday, indicates that since the beginning of the local outbreak, six patients at Stonerise have died, though not all deaths were attributable to COVID alone.

“Valley Haven has taken aggressive steps to stop the spread of the virus, and we have not seen any further progression of symptoms,” the release states.

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