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Wait times at Wood County COVID-19 test sites rising

Cars wait in line during a free COVID-19 testing event Tuesday at South Parkersburg Baptist Church on Blizzard Drive. More than 200 tests were administered at the event, which had to stop registering additional people an hour before it was set to close. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

PARKERSBURG — Health officials say people seeking free COVID-19 tests at an event in Vienna today should be prepared to wait an hour or more.

Demand is increasing along with the number of confirmed virus cases.

Wood County moved back into the red classification on West Virginia’s map tracking the rate at which the novel coronavirus spreads, according to statistics released Thursday by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Eleven deaths were reported in the update, with the youngest a 51-year-old man from Wood County and the oldest a 91-year-old Boone County woman.

“We mourn the tragic loss of these West Virginians and send our deepest sympathies to their loved ones,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR cabinet secretary.

The percentage of tests coming back positive rose in Wood County for the third straight day, according to figures in the daily DHHR update. The increase from 7.54 percent Tuesday to 8.61 percent Wednesday moved the county back to the highest alert category on the map.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department announced testing will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Vienna Recreation building above the ballfields off Rosemar Road.

There were 198 tests conducted during an event Monday at Mineral Wells Elementary School and 210 on Tuesday at South Parkersburg Baptist Church, said Carrie Brainard, threat preparedness coordinator for the MOVHD. At Tuesday’s event, officials announced an hour before it was scheduled to end that they could not accept any more cars.

“Most of the people coming through have been exposed or have some kind of symptoms,” Brainard said via email Thursday. “Some are also doing it for personal awareness, especially if they have someone that may be vulnerable such as elderly, pregnant or have a compromised immune system.

“We have found several people that end up testing positive that thought they just had the seasonal issues or had no symptoms at all,” she said. “That is a good thing — we can have them quarantine and possibly keep them from spreading it when they didn’t know they were sick.”

People attending a testing event should be prepared to wait 60 to 90 minutes, a release from the Health Department said.

Individuals are encouraged to pre-register at www.ipsumcovidresults.com to reduce the wait time. Those registering will receive a QR code that can be printed and brought to the event or scanned from the phone, the release said.

The department is working with the West Virginia Army National Guard and others to provide almost daily testing opportunities, the release said. Working through the state Threat Preparedness Center, the health department has requested assistance from other agencies, including members of the Mount Hope Fire Department, who were at the Mineral Wells event Monday.

“They have been instrumental in allowing us to hold clinics,” Brainard said. “We have a three-person staff with a few from other departments able to help. Our response to the community would be a lot less without their involvement.”

In addition to Wood, the MOVHD serves Calhoun, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane and Wirt counties. The department does not have the manpower to do testing in those counties unless they are classified as orange or red, as Ritchie and Wirt recently have been, Brainard said.

“The turnouts are lighter, of course, but people are appreciative of our efforts,” she said.

Virus statistics for Mid-Ohio Valley counties Thursday were:

* Calhoun: 23 active cases, 59 recovered, 74 total confirmed, 8 total probable, 3,694 tests, 0 deaths.

* Doddridge: 20 active, 107 recovered, 102 total confirmed, 28 total probable, 2,491 tests, 3 deaths.

* Gilmer: 48 active, 166 recovered, 201 total confirmed, 13 total probable, 4,639 tests, 0 deaths.

* Jackson: 72 active, 625 recovered, 696 total confirmed, 28 total probable, 13,442 tests, 27 deaths.

* Pleasants: 47 active, 60 recovered, 93 total confirmed, 18 total probable, 3,332 tests, 4 deaths.

* Ritchie: 70 active, 112 recovered, 154 total confirmed, 32 total probable, 4,738 tests, 4 deaths.

* Roane: 59 active, 132 recovered, 185 total confirmed, 9 total probable, 8,213 tests, 3 deaths.

* Tyler: 28 active, 127 recovered, 119 total confirmed, 37 total probable, 3,748 tests, 1 death.

* Wetzel: 75 active, 356 recovered, 298 total confirmed, 147 total probable, 7,458 tests, 14 deaths.

* Wirt: 44 active, 82 recovered, 101 total confirmed, 26 total probable, 1,906 tests, 1 death.

* Wood: 1,041 active, 1,763 recovered, 2,194 total confirmed, 629 probable, 45,001 tests, 19 deaths.

Upcoming free COVID-19 testing events include:

TODAY

* Doddridge County — 1-5 p.m., Doddridge County Park (in the barn), 1252 Snowbird Road, West Union.

* Wood County — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Jackson Park Recreation Center, above the ballfields off Rosemar Road, Vienna.

SATURDAY

* Doddridge County — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Doddridge County Park (in the barn), 1252 Snowbird Road, West Union.

SUNDAY

* Jackson County — 1-5 p.m., Jackson County Health Department, 504 S. Church St., Ripley.

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

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