Local numbers trending positively despite first death, rising cases

SUMMERS COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Since the start of the pandemic, Summers County has had lower numbers compared to other areas.

While the death toll in surrounding counties are as high as eight, 18 and even 29, Summers County had zero until Tuesday.

“Our 391st death is a 67-year-old male from Summers County,” said Gov. Jim Justice in Wednesday’s press briefing. “Again, look at the ages.”

The first death for the county may lead some residents to wonder just how bad things are getting in the area. Officials say it’s not time to panic.

“Some of our surrounding counties may have had closer to 600 cases, while at this moment we are at 67 cases,” said Wes Dangerfield, the community CEO for Summers County ARH. “Again, that’s with the dedication and the compliance from the other folks in the county. People are doing a great job even though it’s a change and a challenge. If people continue to socially distance, wear the masks, wash their hands, then together we can fight the disease.”

Health experts continue to push testing, hoping to find the virus carriers to stop the spread.

“It is very difficult to know whether or not is it something you have [seasonal allergies] or is it COVID-19?” said Dangerfield. “Do you have a fever or is it COVID-19? It’s very challenging to tell the difference and it’s only with the COVID-19 test that you will be able to find that out, so it’s better to go ahead and get tested. At this time, the numbers are trending in a favorable way

As health experts work to keep the community safe, Dangerfield encourages everyone to play their part.

“The best way to be careful and not get it is to do the same things that people practice for other types of similar diseases over the years. Wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance and keep up with those three things.”

If you need to get tested for coronavirus, Summers County ARH offers testing Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.