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Wirt County moves to red on West Virginia COVID map

ELIZABETH — Wirt County is one of three counties classified as red on West Virginia’s latest COVID-19 map.

Red is the most severe category of virus transmission, based on a rolling average of positive test percentages and infection rates over a seven- or 14-day period, depending on a county’s population. Also in that category Monday were Berkeley and Raleigh counties.

Data released Monday by the state Department of Health and Human Resources showed Wirt County with 26 active cases, compared to eight a week ago.

“There’s been a couple of family groups that have had COVID,” said Carrie Brainard, threat preparedness coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, which covers Wirt, Wood, Calhoun, Pleasants, Ritchie and Roane counties.

Brainard said multiple employees at the Elizabeth Piggly Wiggly had tested positive. Some children in families were affected, which led to students at Wirt County High and Middle schools being identified as close contacts and having to quarantine as a precaution, Wirt County Schools Superintendent John McKown said.

“Right now, to my knowledge, we don’t have any student-to-student transmission,” he said.

No changes have been made to classes, McKown said. In the past, a red designation would have meant a switch to remote learning, but the state stopped using the color-coded map to determine school attendance in late March.

A call to the Elizabeth Piggly Wiggly was not immediately returned Monday afternoon, but an April 26 post on the store’s Facebook page said it would be closed the following day for deep cleaning. A subsequent post said the store would reopen Friday and only employees that tested negative would be working.

Because Wirt County’s population is less than 16,000, the statistics for its color rating are figured on a 14-day rolling average.

“Even as people get well, it’s going to stay red for a little bit,” Brainard said.

Gilmer, Jackson and Wetzel counties were in the second-highest category of orange, while Doddridge, Pleasants and Ritchie counties were in the second-lowest, yellow. Wood, Tyler and Calhoun counties were in the lowest category, green.

Active cases in local counties (previous day) are: Calhoun, 12 (12); Doddridge, 25 (25); Gilmer, 50 (45); Jackson, 99 (90); Pleasants, 28 (24); Ritchie, 23 (21); Roane, 25 (23); Tyler, 28 (27); Wetzel, 126 (125); Wirt, 26 (26); Wood, 110 (107).

No additional COVID-19 deaths were reported in Monday’s update, leaving the state’s total at 2,686.

Just over 36 percent of West Virginia’s population — 648,651 people — have been fully vaccinated against the virus, while 788,414 have received at least one dose.

All West Virginians, age 16 and older, may pre-register through the Vaccine Registration System at www.vaccinate.wv.gov. People should check with local venues for information regarding appointment requirements.

Upcoming vaccination clinics:

Wednesday

* Gilmer County, 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m., Gilmer County Health Department, 809 Medical Drive, Suite 3, Glenville.

* Roane County, noon-7 p.m., City of Spencer Armory, 207 E. Main St., Spencer.

* Wirt County, 10 a.m.-noon, Wirt County School Wellness Center, 3 School View St., Elizabeth.

Thursday

* Gilmer County, 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m., Gilmer County Health Department, 809 Medical Drive, Suite 3, Glenville.

* Jackson County, 1-6 p.m., Jackson County Armory, 8832 Point Pleasant Road, Millwood.

* Wetzel and Tyler counties, 9 a.m.-noon, United Methodist Church, 10 Howard Jeffers Drive, New Martinsville.

* Wood County, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., WVU-Parkersburg Early Learning Center, 300 Campus Drive, Parkersburg; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center, 705 Garfield Ave., Parkersburg (second doses).

Friday

* Calhoun County, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Calhoun Community Vaccination Clinic, 186 Hospital Drive, Grantsville.

* Gilmer County, 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m., Gilmer County Health Department, 809 Medical Drive, Suite 3, Glenville.

* Wood County, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., South Parkersburg Baptist Church, 1655 Blizzard Drive, Parkersburg.

Saturday

* Roane County, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., City of Spencer Armory, 207 E. Main St., Spencer.

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

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