Fayette County responds to large increase in COVID cases with all-day testing effort

MT. HOPE/SMITHERS, WV (WOAY) – Fayette County cases increased by 68 overnight. In response to their recent rise and the outbreak at Mt. Olive Correctional Facility in Smithers, the health department was once again conducting community-wide testing, this time hosting two events in one day. 

In Mt. Hope in the morning and afternoon, the health department alongside the Mt. Hope Fire and EMS team, tested 138 and then tested 101 in Smithers that evening.

Fayette County Health Officer Dr. Anita Stewart says the new cases are coming from the prison outbreak as they have 142 positives as of Tuesday afternoon.

“The majority of those that came in were inmates from the prison, so those will not be counted toward the county activity map when we’re looking for return the school,” Dr. Stewart said. “The majority of those came from the prison. We had I think four cases I think that came in for community spread yesterday.” 

The health department’s original plan was to hold off on community testing until school started back, but now that the county is in the orange phase with rising cases, they felt it was time to take a “biopsy” of the county. 

“And so what this does it helps us to more easily find out who has disease and then to quickly isolate and contract trace those patients,” Dr. Stewart said. 

And while some might argue that more barrier-free testing could keep the county in orange through Saturday and worse turn the county red, Dr. Stewart says mass testing could actually get them back in yellow quicker. 

“If you identify and can isolate them and then quarantine their close contacts, you can essentially stop the spread of the disease, so yes, we might be in orange but we will be in orange for a shorter amount of time if you can stop the spread where it is right now,” she said. 

New River Health will be doing testing on Wednesday in the old K-Mart lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

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.