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covid testing2 (copy)

Cars line up on Washington Street for COVID-19 testing at two tents set up in the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department parking lot Wednesday, July 8.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is recommending people with potential exposure to COVID-19 during the Thanksgiving holiday get tested this week.

People should get tested five to seven days after potential exposure, a department spokesperson said Tuesday. If people are experiencing symptoms, however, they should get tested as soon as possible.

There are three testing events in Kanawha County this week:

n 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, at Elkview Baptist Church, 1150 Main Street, Elkview;

n 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, at Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center, 1701 Fifth Avenue, Charleston;

n Noon to 7 p.m. Friday, at Shawnee Sports Complex, One Salango Way, Dunbar.

Testing is also available by appointment Monday through Friday at 108 Lee St. E. by calling the health department at 304-348-8080.

People traveling home from Thanksgiving, those who were around crowds and members of the community are all encouraged to get tested this week as the rate of COVID-19 spread continues to soar across the country and West Virginia.

“With the amount of community spread we have, it’s a good idea for each and every individual to get tested for COVID-19, especially if they’ve traveled, have been around known positives or have symptoms,” Dr. Sherri Young, chief health officer of the KCHD, said.

The number of positive cases in Kanawha County has increased by more than 115 in the past six days. As of Monday evening, there were 1,353 active cases reported in the county.

West Virginia reported 23 deaths related to COVID-19 on Tuesday, pushing the total number of deaths during the pandemic to 758, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard. Seven Kanawha County residents have died due to the virus in the past seven days.

Kanawha County reported nearly 2,000 positive cases from Nov. 1 to Nov. 19, County Manager Jennifer Herrald Oakley said during a county commission meeting Tuesday morning.

Kanawha Commission President Kent Carper said Tuesday the rise in deaths and positive cases is not unexpected, and county officials have prepared for the post-Election Day and holiday season surge.

“Unfortunately our predictions have been correct. Dr. Young’s predictions have been correct. She predicted this five months ago,” Carper said. “Some of these holiday splurges are causing the surges. It’s really that simple.”

The positive cases reported this week reflect the spread of the virus during the last two weeks of November. Health experts say the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday will not be known until mid-December.

Reach Joe Severino at joe.severino@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4814 or follow @jj_severino on Twitter.