Fayette County cases surge from high community spread and church outbreak

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Fayette County now once again seeing an alarming increase in positive COVID-19 cases as their active case count tops 130.

“We’re at a point where our numbers are increasing to a very concerning state,’ Fayette County Health Officer Dr. Anita Stewart said. “I would say we have moderate to high community transmission right now.”

Dr. Stewart says there have been double digit positive cases in Fayette County every day since last Thursday.

She says the problem now is that those who test positive have pages of contacts rather than just two or three causing alarming community spread.

Dr. Stewart says there is also a big church outbreak where 40% of the 100-person congregation has tested positive.

The health department is not releasing which church it is and says those involved and their close contacts have all been notified, but she says it is important for all congregations to take heed.

“Just making sure that we’re still not getting complacent, and that we’re still encouraging masking, sitting every other pew or best case scenario would be virtual services,” she said. “Right now, my recommendation is that when we are on the incline, and we’re seeing moderate to high community transmission is to try to do things virtually in different sectors, and that is no different for the religious sector.”

As the winter season approaches, Dr. Stewart says this is always a busy time for healthcare providers even without the overwhelming responsibility of COVID-19, so she is calling on the public to do their part.

“We need to be selfless and do this for our neighbors and do this for our loved ones, for strangers,” she said. “You know, we are getting into the holiday season. It tends to be the giving season and what a better way to really model that than to do the right thing, to wear a mask, to social distance, to wash your hands and keep people safe over the holidays.”

In response, Fayette County Health Department conducted testing on Tuesday but will be doing it again on Friday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. This will take place at the J.W. and Hazel Ruby Welcome Center off of Route 19 in Mt. Hope. New River Health will also be conducting testing on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the old K-Mart building.

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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.