Fayette County cases continue to climb; Health dept. gears up for community-wide testing in response

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – According to health officials, Fayette County jumped 20 cases in about a six-day period from May 3 to May 9. As of Monday night, the case total sits at 34 positive results, and now the county is being watched closely for a potential status change.

“A potential problem like maybe that we already have that we got going on in Fayette County that we’re watching and really watching really closely,” Gov. Justice said.

While the state is keeping their eye on Fayette County’s numbers, health officer Dr. Anita Stewart is studying them closely and points out their rate of rise going from about 3 to 4 cases a week when this all started to now 20 in one week.

“Number one: Why did that happen? Number two: What are we going to do about that?” she said. “So we’ve been talking and working very closely with the state as well as with the COVID Task Force here in Fayette County to develop action items related to that jump in cases.”

One of the big action items is coming up Wednesday for the first time. They will be conducting community-wide testing in Smithers.

Anyone can come, symptomatic or not, and it will be done in a drive-thru style.

The reason for targeting the Upper Kanawha Valley right now is the recent outbreak at the Montgomery General Hospital.

“We are seeing an increased amount of cases related to the outbreak at Montgomery General Hospital, and it is not alarming that there’s more cases in the Upper Kanawha Valley, especially considering the caseload in Kanawha County,” Dr. Stewart said. “We know that this is a virus that doesn’t understand county borders, so it crosses borders freely just like we as people cross borders freely.”

Because of that, the health department plans to do this type of community-wide testing in other areas as well, but in the meantime encourages everyone to wear a face covering when in public and encourages physical distancing and good hand hygiene.

The community-wide testing in Smithers will take place on Wednesday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the parking lot of Valley Elementary. Anyone can be tested.

If you have insurance, you are encouraged to bring your card. If not, you can be tested through Medicaid.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.