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Nursing home COVID-19 outbreaks continue in Mercer, Grant counties

PRINCETON, W.Va. — There’s no indication that COVID-19 outbreaks at two nursing homes in West Virginia are under control.

The Princeton Health Care Center in Mercer County and the Grant County Rehabilitation and Care Center in Petersburg added confirmed cases Wednesday.

Mercer County Health Officer Dr. Kathleen Wides said 12 patients and 19 staff members have so far contracted the virus with test results pending and another round of testing set to begin.

The state reported the COVID-19 death of a 74-year-old woman from Mercer County Wednesday evening. The third death in the county in the last two days. Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday the deaths were associated with the nursing home. He said the virus got into the home in connection with travel to Myrtle Beach.

Wides said this is another example of how difficult it is to stop COVID-19.

“Princeton Health Care did everything right. They had strict protocols and they know what they’re doing. They enforce their protocols and it still it snuck in,” Wides told MetroNews.

Testing will continue. The state requires testing every seven days until there are 14 days of no positives when there’s a nursing home outbreak.

Two outbreaks in Grant County

In Grant County, there are currently 19 patients and eight staff members who have tested positive at the Grant County Rehabilitation and Care Center. Grant County Health Department Administrator Sandy Glasscock said she’s concerned about community spread because it’s taken tests several days to be processed.

“This could cause community outbreak because the staff goes home in the evening and they weren’t quarantining until they tested positive,” she said.

Two nursing home residents were initially hospitalized. Glasscock said two staff members reported having minor symptoms of the virus Wednesday, others are asymptomatic.

“The solution would be to get faster testing but I don’t know how to do that,” Glasscock told MetroNews.

Glasscock who also works as Grant County’s contact tracer is wrapping up a outbreak at a church near Petersburg that had 28 positive COVID-19 cases following a youth retreat and evening services. She said only two of the 28 cases were asymptomatic.

“The rest were pretty miserable,” she said.

The growth of cases has been significant in Grant County since the middle of the month. Glasscock said the entire county had 15 positive cases on July 15, it now has 77.

“It’s kind of scary because people want to know, ‘Is this safe? Is that safe?’ I feel like a broken record saying, ‘This is a new virus and there’s so much we don’t know,” she said.

The state DHHR reported a daily positive test rate Wednesday evening of 2.64 percent. Hospitalizations continue to climb in West Virginia with 98 with 40 patients in intensive care and 13 being treated on ventilators.

Wides said it’s clear with the recent outbreak in her county that COVID-19 remains a significant threat.

“You can do everything right and this thing is extraordinarily transmissible and dangerous especially in a fragile, elderly community,” Wides said.





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