Fayette County health officer discusses best practices moving forward after first confirmed case

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – The Fayette County Health Department received its first positive COVID-19 test result on Monday.

The Fayette County Health Officer Dr. Anita Stewart says she was not surprised, but now it is about keeping the social distancing momentum going.

“My message right now is to stay calm,” she said. “Keep doing the good work that you’ve been doing. Keep washing your hands. Keep really working on physical and social distancing, only going out for essential items, wearing masks when you go out, that’s a new recommendation from the CDC.”

Now that labs are starting to have a quicker turnaround, Dr. Stewart expects more positive results to start to trickle in throughout the state and even though the county is preparing for a surge, Dr. Stewart believes it can be avoided.

“If we can effectively between 75 and 90 percent practice social distancing or physical distancing, I think is a better term to use for that, we can really flatten that curve and really eliminate that surge all together,” Dr. Stewart said. “We’ve seen that in South Korea and other countries where they were really proactive about that so I’m hoping West Virginia can be a player in that way.”

For patient privacy, the health department is not releasing any details about the first patient but they are following protocol tracing all contact 48 hours before the patient started showing symptoms and all contact after.

“And that would be anyone that’s been within six to ten feet of that person for ten minutes or more, close contacts, people that they share a home with or that they provide direct care for, and then we would ask those people to be quarantined for 14 days to monitor for symptoms. We’ll be keeping in touch with them via text twice a day and then if they develop symptoms, we’ll be doing testing for them as well.”

The patient will be in isolation until symptoms are gone and then they will have to wait another 72 hours.

The health department will be doing drive-thru testing this week. If you are experiencing symptoms you are encouraged to call them at (304) 574-1617.

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.