Mercer Co. Health Department

*UPDATE* — As of Friday morning, the Mercer County Health Department raised the confirmed COVID-19 cases to 1,098 with 348 active cases and 750 recovered cases.

PRINCETON — Mercer County's number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started grew Thursday to 1,067 while the number of deaths grew by one to 37.

More new cases had been recorded Thursday, according to Brenda Donithan, interim administrator of the Mercer County Health Department. The new cases took the county's number of positive cases to 1,067.

"We added 42 cases this morning," she said while free drive-through testing was being offered outside the health department. "And we have 317 active cases. We have 37 deaths. We added one this morning. It was a male and he was 73."

This man had been transferred to the J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, Donithan said.

By 11 a.m., about 54 people had taken advantage of the free testing, Ethel Yopp, LPN, stated. Three more opportunities for free COVID-19 testing will be offered next week at the Mercer County Health Department.

Free drive-through testing will be offered Monday, Nov. 16, from noon to 3 p.m. The testing will be offered Wednesday, Nov. 18, from noon to 3 p.m., and Friday, Nov. 20, from 8 a.m. to noon, Donithan said.

About 121 new cases were reported last week, taking Mercer County's number of COVID-19 cases to 1,016 as of Monday, County Commissioner Greg Puckett said earlier this week.

“That’s a significant jump. That’s about an 11 percent jump within a one-week timeline," Puckett said then. What happens is we see the spread start happening between people whereas before they were a little more compliant, but now we’re starting to see the communicable spread between family members. And so when one gets it, it’s really easy to give it to the next four to six. It’s that rapid spread of COVID that we’re a little bit fearful of.”

This rise in the number of positive cases is a concern, Puckett said.

“Since this pandemic started, I’ve been able to host the briefing we have every Monday morning with the municipalities, health department, emergency personnel and so on, and it’s been consistent,” he stated. “A lot of times we didn’t have any numbers, and then we saw the general spike along with the rest of the country. But then we started looking at it in terms of the waves, and I think right now we’re not coming into a third wave. We’re still in the first wave. We never really ever peaked out, and my fear is that if we have consistency where people don’t adhere to the CDC guidelines, that the wave is only going to continue.”

The number of recovery cases is growing, but more people need to take wearing masks and other precautions seriously.

“There is good news. The good news is our recovered cases have almost doubled to what we currently have. Unfortunately, we have seen some fatalities within this timeline. We know that’s still a problem for those who have some preexisting conditions,” Puckett said. “But we also understand that if you do the recommended guidelines, if you socially distance the right way, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, do the things that you’re asked, wear a mask, that we know that people can be protected and we can get to the point when vaccinations will be coming out.”

One problem is that people are not wearing their masks correctly.

“One of the major is problems is yes, people will wear a mask, but they will wear them inappropriately. They’ll wear it under their nose, they’ll wear it under their chin, things that still allow for the spread to happen,” Puckett said. “The droplets still get out. It’s really more harmful to the person that you’re with, not to you.”

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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