MASON COUNTY — West Virginia has reported its first death related to COVID-19 coronavirus.
According to the Associated Press, the state health department on Sunday said an 88-year-old Marion County woman died from the virus, with the fatality confirmed through the Marion County Health Department and United Hospital Center. No other details were released.
“It is truly a sad day in West Virginia,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a statement, urging people to limit exposure with others and practice good hygiene.
As of Monday evening, 145 people had tested positive for the virus in West Virginia, with 3,682 negative tests, and now, one death, state health officials reported.
As of press time on Monday evening, Mason County had three reported confirmed cases of COVID-19. As previously reported by the Mason County Health Department (MCHD), in regards to the first case reported last week, the person had a recent history of international travel.
According to Jennifer Thomas, nursing director/administrator of the MCHD, the two cases reported by state officials on Friday appear to be community acquired.
The Centers for Disease Control defines “community spread” as meaning “people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.”
The death of a COVID-19 patient was reported by the Gallia County Health Department last week. The Gallia case was discovered to be transmitted via community spread and not due to travel, according to Gallia public health officials.
Also on Monday, the MCHD released information on policies and procedures it’s required to follow once it receives notification of a positive test.
The health department press release stated: “Due to the public concerns about the COVID 19 positive cases in Mason County, the Mason County Health Department would like to explain the procedures and guidelines that the health department takes when we receive a positive. Upon receiving a positive report, the MCHD:
– Contacts the patient, gathers information on patient’s contacts and advises patient to quarantine to home and gives guidelines on the length of time to quarantine, depending on each case.
– The MCHD will notify each contact and advise them what length of time they need to be quarantined or not.
– The MCHD will closely monitor all persons involved with the positive case.
To protect the privacy and dignity of all Mason County residents in accordance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the MCHD at this time will not be releasing any specific or personal information on the positive cases, such as name, age, gender, address, and place of employment.
Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID 19, even with known cases within their area. If you are sick call your health care provider, hospital or MCHD – they can advise you whether you need tested.
Whether it is your neighbor or someone at the other end of the county, we all should be:
– Staying home;
– Practicing social distancing;
– Washing our hands;
– If you must go out, for essential trips, please stay at least 6 feet away from others.”
On Monday evening, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources listed the following confirmed positive cases by county as follows: Berkeley (14), Cabell (1), Greenbrier (3), Hancock (3), Harrison (10), Jackson (8), Jefferson (6), Kanawha (23), Logan (2), Marion (5), Marshall (4), Mason (3), Mercer (2), Monongalia (31), Morgan (1), Ohio (9), Pleasants (1), Preston (2), Putnam (4), Raleigh (3), Randolph (1), Roane (2), Tucker (2), Upshur (1), Wetzel (1), Wirt (1), Wood (2).
Reporting for the Associated Press was Anthony Izaguirre.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.