Mercer County Health Department

PRINCETON — The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated in Mercer County with 17 new virus cases being reported in the last 10 days. Another 91 people identified this week through contact tracing also have been ordered to isolate due to potential exposure to the virus, according to officials with the Mercer County Health Department.

Three new COVID-19 infections were reported by the Mercer County Health Department Thursday, along with five new cases Wednesday afternoon — all of which were travel related, according to Matthew Bragg, sanitarian for the Mercer County Health Department.

 “They were all travel related, definitely some of them were Myrtle Beach,” Bragg said.

Mercer County has now recorded 17 new virus cases in the last 10 days, a troubling surge in new infections. The cumulative total of virus cases to date in the county also climbed to 30 Thursday. Of that number, 13 involve people who have already recovered from the virus. But another 17 individuals are now in quarantine, as they try to recover from the novel virus of which there is no current vaccine or universally agreed upon form of treatment.

91 people in Mercer County identified through contact tracing have been ordered to isolate.

Bragg said all 91 individuals came into contact with one of the 16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mercer County, and must isolate due to potential exposure to the virus.

Bragg said Thursday that all 91 people are currently in isolation. In all, 283 people have been identified in Mercer County through contact tracing since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Contact tracing involves locating those individuals who had direct contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient. Due to potential exposure to the virus, those individuals also are required by health officials to quarantine for a period of time.

Bragg said another 68 COVID-19 test results were still pending with the Mercer County Health Department as of Thursday afternoon.

Greg Puckett, a member of the Mercer County Commission, said local officials continue to monitor the recommendations of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

“No drastic measures,” Puckett said. “We are going to monitor what the Department of Health and Human Resources in Charleston says. I’m sure the governor keeps seeing spikes in these various counties, and he will keep giving directions and we will try to follow suit.”

Puckett said those area residents who have recently traveled to Myrtle Beach, Florida or other hot spot locations should be tested for the virus upon their return home to West Virginia.

“People need to understand that we aren’t in a second wave. We are still in the first wave,” Puckett said. “This is still something that is ongoing.”

Only one person in Mercer County has been hospitalized to date as a result of the virus, and that earlier case is no longer considered active.

So far 3,210 people in Mercer County have been tested for COVID-19 and 13 have people have recovered from the virus. 

Because of the possibility of false positive test results, and other discrepancies in testing, numbers can change — sometimes on a weekly basis. 

  Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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