Kanawha County’s chief public health officer warned against an “alarming trend” of positive COVID-19 cases in the region, echoing concerns made by top state health officials last week about mounting outbreaks across the state.
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department reported another 37 positive cases from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, which brought the county up to 95 active cases, according to a health department news release.
Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus czar, has warned that the average age of new infections in West Virginia is becoming increasingly younger. In Kanawha County, 20- to 29-year-olds own the highest share — nearly 17% — of positive cases.
The doors at the Kanawha County Circuit Clerk’s Office will remain closed until Friday after a circuit clerk employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday; the employee hadn’t been in the building since July 2, according to a release from the county.
Kanawha County is up to 421 total positive cases as of Monday night — third most in the state behind Monongalia and Berkeley counties, who have recorded 554 and 518 positive cases, respectively.
Kanawha County has recorded 20 deaths due to COVID-19, the highest number in West Virginia.
“This is an alarming trend that we’re monitoring very closely,” Young said in the release. “Stay at home if you can. If you go out, remember to stay six feet away from other people, wear a mask and frequently wash your hands.”
The health department administered 1,465 tests at three drive-thru locations in a five-day period last week; and that number does not include anyone who made an appointment and was tested inside the health department, a spokesperson said Monday.
Young encouraged everyone to take advantage of free testing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Capital High School.
Marsh said that community spread is driving the uptick in outbreaks, and emphasized the importance of West Virginians abiding by Gov. Jim Justice’s mandatory mask order to slow the spread.
Bill Crouch, the Department of Health and Human Resources secretary, said during a public meeting Thursday that West Virginia is now at a crossroads in the fight against the pandemic.
“We’re really reaching that point where … our health care system is going to be overrun — and kind of everything’s out the window at that point,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the building was closed when the closure was limited to a specific office in the building.