FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Now that COVID-19 has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, local health officials say it is only a matter of time before West Virginia gets its first case. That’s why the Fayette County Local Emergency Planning Committee met again on Wednesday in hopes to continue planning.
The big topic this time: Locations for testing and quarantine. The health department is looking at other areas in the United States who have started the drive-thru method of testing people while in their car.
“We’re working on the possibility of having a centralized testing site, possibly a drive-thru testing site where people could, if they feel like they need to be tested, they could actually stay in their vehicles and just do like a drive-thru, and we could test them there,” Fayette County Health Department Administrator Teri Harlan said.
The goal is to keep as many people out of the clinics and hospitals as possible to limit exposure.
Everyone in the meeting agreed that this will turn this into a real emergency when the health providers start getting sick themselves.
Another big concern that carried over from the previous meeting was the stock of personal protective equipment, or PPE’s, for first responders and medical personnel.
“We’re currently doing an inventory of PPE’s in our area,” Harlan said. “We’re also working with the state to make sure we have protective equipment for our health care workers, so again, we are hoping to get some additional information on that this afternoon, but we feel like the word we’re getting is promising, that we’ll have some additional equipment coming in.”
Right now, testing can be done at the state level and the health department hopes to have that capability soon.
The health department is encouraging anyone who feels as though they are experiencing symptoms to call ahead.
“I urge you to contact the health department at (304) 574-1617. We’re happy to answer your questions,” Harlan said.
In terms of where testing will be done or who will be doing it, that is still to be determined, but the next meeting of the LEPC will be a strategic planning one.