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Wood County COVID-19 cases continue climb

PARKERSBURG — The number of COVID-19 cases in Wood County continues to rise, particularly at a senior living facility between Parkersburg and Vienna.

On Tuesday, the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department announced six residents and two employees of Wyngate Senior Living Community had tested positive for the virus. As the week went on, that number rose to 14 residents and seven employees, said Carrie Brainard, public information officer for the Health Department, but those weren’t the final tallies as of Friday evening.

“There’s been additional positives, plus there’s been additional people tested,” she said.

Those numbers were not immediately available Friday. A Wyngate employee who answered the phone Friday said the facility had no comment beyond what had been previously released by the Health Department.

That release said one resident who tested positive was being treated for pneumonia, while the other five at the time presented no symptoms beyond low-grade fevers.

On Thursday, the Health Department announced there had been 161 positive cases in Wood County, an increase of 26 since July 5. On June 25, the county had 59 positive cases.

According to the Thursday release, 100 of the Wood County cases were still being actively monitored, meaning the individuals are not considered to have recovered.

“They either still have symptoms or they’re still within the 14-day quarantine period,” Brainard said. “Once their symptoms go away, they have to be fever-free and symptom-free for 72 hours before they can be released.”

Two deaths in the county have been attributed to COVID-19.

The increases in the county are not solely due to infections at Wyngate.

Multiple individuals who recently tested positive in Wood and Washington counties were linked to a party about two weeks ago that Brainard said started in the Belpre area and moved to Parkersburg.

“It was young people getting together, summertime stuff,” she said. “A lot of them were asymptomatic, so they wouldn’t have known they were contagious.”

The ability of individuals without symptoms to spread the virus is one of the main factors behind prevention recommendations like social distancing and the wearing of masks, which West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice recently made mandatory for all indoor locations except homes.

Calhoun County added two positive cases this week and Pleasants County one, bringing the total for each to four. One case in Calhoun and two in Pleasants have been released from monitoring.

Brainard asked individuals to be forthcoming about the people they’ve been in contact with, so the Health Department can track the potential spread.

“Help them build that line list so we can stop it,” she said.

The rise in positive cases and Justice’s mask order led to the cancellation of the delayed celebration of Parkersburg’s bicentennial.

Originally planned for June, the bicentennial was postponed until the fall with an eye toward welcoming residents back to local restaurants and retailers.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said Friday that members of the PKB200 committee had been looking at smaller-scale activities that would be more appropriate as measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 continued, but “the circumstances just won’t allow for that kind of event.

“In light of the new guidelines and requirements and the spike in cases, we’ve decided to cancel the event,” he said.

The $40,000 allocated for the celebration will be reappropriated by City Council, Joyce said.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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