38-year-old Kanawha woman is among four latest W.Va. covid-related deaths

A 38-year-old Kanawha County woman was among the most recent covid-related deaths reported by West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources.

The agency on Saturday also reported the deaths of of a 70-year old Cabell County man, an 84-year old Fayette County woman and a 77-year old Fayette County woman.

Bill Crouch

“It is with a heavy heart that we confirm the deaths of these four West Virginians,” stated Bill Crouch, the DHHR cabinet secretary.

West Virginia is now up to 131 deaths.

In announcing three deaths on Friday, Gov. Jim Justice expressed sorrow for their families.

“We’ve got to stop this killer. And we will stop it. But for these people it’s too late,” Justice said.

West Virginia has reported 7,563 total cases of the coronavirus.

The most recent daily percent positive was 2.47 percent.

West Virginia’s rate of spread was listed as .93, a few weeks after ranking as the highest in the nation. If it’s above 1.0, covid-19 will spread quickly. If it’s below 1.0, infections will slow.

Day report center

Kanawha County on Saturday reported two confirmed coronavirus cases of employees at the Kanawha County Day Report Center.

“Both cases appear to be connected to personal out of state travel.  Both employees are doing well at this time,” according to a news release from the county government.

“Our thoughts are with both employees and their families at this time.  We will continue to monitor the situation and provide the necessary support to our employees that is needed,” stated Sheriff Mike Rutherford.

Charleston Police Department

The City of Charleston reported two police officers testing positive for covid-19 on Saturday.

“Both officers are currently recovering at home with minimal symptoms,” stated Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We continue to work with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department on contact tracing to minimize the spread of this disease.”

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is contact tracing and identifying people who might have been in contact with the officers.

“I have reiterated to all officers that masks must be worn except in cases where it impacts officer safety or if they are in a one-person office,” stated Chief Tyke Hunt. “CPD operations will continue to function normally.”

Southern Regional Jail

On Friday evening, the state Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported that it’s keeping a close watch on facilities including the Southern Regional Jail in Raleigh County, where several cases were reported this week.

The facility had only one active case among inmates as of Friday, after two other inmates who had tested positive were released on furloughs.

Seven employees assigned to the jail, including contract workers, have also tested positive. They remain self-quarantined at home, until they test negative and are medically cleared to return to duty.

In line with the Division of Corrections’ response policy, the jail continues to quarantine or medically isolate inmates who are newly arrived at or returned to the jail, are symptomatic, or who otherwise await test results. The facility had 135 inmates in isolation or quarantine as of Friday.

Suppressing the spread of virus among closely-quartered inmates remains challenging.

The jail’s overall population was 727 on Friday. While every inmate is issued a mattress, the facility has built-in bunks for 468.

Nearly 420 of the jail’s inmates, or 57 percent of the total, are pretrial defendants. To address the risk posed by COVID-19 to such institutional settings as jails, the state Supreme Court called on magistrates and circuit judges in late March to consider personal recognizance or reduced bond for “any pre-trial individuals who do not constitute a public safety risk.”

The Southern Regional Jail’s population now exceeds what it was when that guidance was issued.





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