More testing set as county stays in orange status
by KATE SHUNNEY
Morgan County’s rising number of COVID-19 cases triggered a series of testing events in the county last week. State health protocols say a county that is in orange status, as Morgan County was late last week, must hold free testing events every 24 hours until local case percentages drop to a lower transmission rate.
A total of 393 residents were tested for COVID, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, between Thursday, October 15 and Sunday, October 18.
On Thursday and Friday, the Morgan County Health Department offered free tests by appointment each morning. According to Health Promotion Coordinator Jennifer Schetrompf, 37 residents were tested on Thursday and 60 were tested on Friday.
West Virginia National Guard troops over the weekend held two more testing events – both drive-through tests in the Warm Springs Middle School parking lot. On Saturday, October 17, 185 residents were tested for COVID-19. On Sunday, 111 people were tested at the same location.
Schetrompf said the Berkeley-Morgan County Board of Health, West Virginia National Guard, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the Morgan County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management partnered to run the testing events.
Test results from each location were able to be checked online via portal access provided by QLabs, Schetrompf said.
On Monday, Morgan County remained under an orange status. The number of residents confirmed to have an active case of COVID-19 rose to 38 individuals on Sunday, October 18. On October 6 – just 12 days earlier — the county had 10 residents with confirmed active cases of the disease.
Local health officials on Monday set up four more free testing events in Morgan County for this week. All of the test will be administered in the parking lot of Warm Springs Middle School.
Testing will be done today, Wednesday, October 21 and Thursday, October 22, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Free tests will also be offered on Friday, October 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Warm Springs Middle School.
The first case of COVID-19 in Morgan County was confirmed on March 29. Since then, a total of 97 residents have tested positive for the viral disease and another four were considered probable cases.
Altogether, 64 local people have recovered from the disease. There have been no deaths attributed to COVID in Morgan County.
Statewide levels rise
Several counties in the state have been in the orange status – the next to the worst COVID status — during this past week. They include neighboring Berkeley County, plus Doddridge, Wirt, Jackson, Pendleton, Clay, Monroe, Wayne and Mingo. Wyoming County was under a red status, meaning extremely high levels of community transmission.
Eight counties closed schools and shifted students to remote learning this week due to heightened community COVID spread. Students in Morgan, Berkeley, Randolph, Upshur, Wirt, Mingo, Doddridge and Wyoming counties could return to in-person school next week if transmission rates drop under the state’s metrics.