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Cases still steady despite school start

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Commissioners on Wednesday heard good news from Belmont County Deputy Health Director Robert Sproul, who reported new cases of COVID-19 continues to hold steady locally with only a slight increase in new cases.

The county’s total positive test results since March stand at 716 positives, with 657 recoveries and 29 people actively positive and in isolation at home.

Five residents are hospitalized with the virus, and 25 people have died after testing positive for the virus in Belmont County, including nine inmates at the Belmont Correctional Institution.

“It’s a very, very good trend, I hope we can keep that up,” Sproul said, adding that reopening schools have been conscientious about sending home students who are feeling ill.

Any new cases arising from Labor Day weekend activities likely will be reported in the next five days, he said.

Sproul will also meet with the Ohio National Guard this week to discuss three possible locations for free drive-through, pop-up testing sites, which have been staged across Ohio.

Tentatively, he said, officials are considering sites in Bellaire, Barnesville and St. Clairsville, with testing at each location successively for three weekends in a row.

Meanwhile, Jim Morrison of Otto Road thanked commissioners and other county officials again for their assistance in obtaining a Community Development Block Grant for close to $250,000 to provide water service to Otto Road in the Jacobsburg area of Pultney Township. He said the seven families residing on the road are also overjoyed, since they have been without service for decades.

John Drewett of Lashley Hill Road, Shadyside, reminded commissioners that work has not yet begun on a road slip dating from the 2018 disaster declaration. He said he has been speaking to the county engineer, who is awaiting word of expected funding.

“Next week it’ll be six months that road’s been closed down, and I can’t believe they can’t come up with any funds to get that road opened up,” Drewett said, adding that there are many expensive projects going on throughout the county.

Dutton said the board will continue to seek funding and converse with Engineer Terry Lively.

“This issue is of importance to everyone,” Dutton said.

The commissioners also heard good news from Belmont County Deputy Health Director Robert Sproul, who reported new cases of COVID-19 coronavirus continue to hold steady, with only slight increases. The county’s total cases stand at 716 positives, with 657 recoveries and 29 people actively positive and in isolation.

A total of five people are currently hospitalized with the virus, and 25 people have died after testing positive for the virus in Belmont County, including nine inmates at the Belmont Correctional Institution.

How to conduct school reopenings and sports has been a major concern, but Sproul reported of the new cases, none have been traced back to school or sports activity.

“It’s a very, very good trend, I hope we can keep that up,” Sproul said, adding the schools have been conscientious about sending home students who are feeling ill.

Any new cases arising from Labor Day weekend will likely be reported in the next five days.

Sproul will also meet with the Ohio National Guard this week to discuss three possible locations for free drive-through pop-up testing sites. Tentatively, they are considering Bellaire, Barnesville and St. Clairsville, with testing at each location successively for three weekends in a row.

“We’re looking at the west, middle and eastern sides of the counties,” he said.

He added the Belmont County Junior Fair has also had a successful beginning.

“Those kids put a lot of effort into those projects, people should go out and look, but again, we do have a mask mandate, we still want people to social distance, we still have hand-washing and sanitizing.”

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