100 more residents test positive for COVID in holiday week

by Kate Evans

Morgan County cases of COVID-19 virus infection continue to climb, jumping 100 cases since Christmas Day.

As of Monday morning January 4, there were a total of 687 COVID-19 cases in Morgan County — 553 cumulative confirmed cases and 134 cumulative probable cases.

Some 166 county residents have active cases of the virus and 513 residents have recovered from the virus.  There have been eight deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Morgan County.

On Christmas Day, Morgan County had a total of 587 COVID-19 cases — 478 cumulative confirmed cases and 109 cumulative probable cases.

Free testing sites

The Morgan County Health Department said that free COVID-19 testing continues to be offered at Reed’s Pharmacy drive-thru in Berkeley Springs and also on Tuesdays by appointment at Mountaineer Community Health Center in Paw Paw.

Hours that COVID-19 testing (saliva test) is available at Reed’s Pharmacy are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. 304-258-3800.

COVID-19 testing (oral swab) is available at Mountaineer Community Health Center every Tuesday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 304-947-5500 to make an appointment.

Do not eat, drink, chew gum or use mouth wash or tobacco products for at least 30 minutes prior to testing.

No in-home tests now

The free in-home COVID-19 test kit previously offered by the state is no longer available to West Virginia residents.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Secretary Bill Crouch reported in the Friday, December 11 Governor’s coronavirus briefing that the recently announced free in-home testing program through Vault Health had been discontinued after about a week of use.

Crouch cited the time lag of about five days being the main issue. It made getting the results and contact tracing difficult especially with someone that tested positive. A testing kit had to be mailed, an online face-to- face interview done, then the sample mailed back and results calculated.  Couch said the process took too long.

Plus the cost was pretty steep although it’s a high quality test and the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, he noted.  Crouch said they will use the test kits in other formats.