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DHHR confirms eight more COVID-19 deaths at Princeton facility

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) confirmed the deaths of eight individuals from the Princeton Health Care Center due to COVID-19.

In the DHHR’s daily COVID-19 report on Sunday, the agency said the deaths occurred over the course of the last few weeks but were not reported in an official capacity due to personnel changes at the Mercer County Health Department.

Those who died include an 80-year old female, an 87-year old female, an 86-year old female, a 79-year old female, a 91-year old male, a 78-year old female, an 89-year old female, and a 76-year old male, according to the DHHR.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of these eight West Virginians,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary. “Our condolences are extended to these families during their time of grief.”

Sunday’s report brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths at the Princeton Health Care Center to 11 as three of these deaths were previously reported by DHHR.

A couple of weeks ago, as the outbreak was becoming apparent at the Princeton nursing home, there was a shakeup at the county health department.

Mercer health department administrator Susan Kadar turned in a retirement letter, and health officer Kathleen Wides also resigned. In reaction, health board chairman Randy Stevens also resigned.

Officials at the nursing home at one point indicated they had asked for early testing intervention after identifying a coronavirus case in early July but didn’t receive the help they needed.

West Virginia officials, in turn, described responsive action to the situation as it developed at the Princeton nursing home.

“With regard to Princeton, in regard to my knowledge, we did everything we were supposed to do,” Gov. Jim Justice said during a July 31 coronavirus response briefing.

The Princeton Health Care Center has gone through round after round of testing the past couple of weeks.

Right now, the nursing home says it has 34 active resident cases and 21 active employee cases.

“We will continue the weekly testing process at least until the time we have gone two weeks without any additional positive cases,” wrote nursing home administrator Stefanie Compton.

In a regular update on Saturday, the nursing home’s administrator said medical needs of residents are being met by Dr. Ryan Runyon, the associate medical director. Dr. A. Amjad, state medical officer who is also serving as interim medical director for the Mercer County Health Department has also been on site and is involved in the medical care of residents.

Last week, the nursing home described struggles in dealing with the virus spread.

“We are saddened to report that some of our residents have passed due to this deadly virus,” Compton wrote. “We are keeping our extended family in our prayers and ask that you do the same. We are also saddened to report that some of our employees have become extremely ill. Our hearts are with them all!”

West Virginia is now up to 139 COVID-19 related deaths. The DHHR added 131 cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 7,694.

The most recent daily percent positive was 2.33 percent.

Cases per county (Case confirmed by lab test/Probable case): Barbour (29/0), Berkeley (669/27), Boone (101/0), Braxton (8/0), Brooke (63/1), Cabell (391/9), Calhoun (6/0), Clay (18/0), Doddridge (6/0), Fayette (148/0), Gilmer (16/0), Grant (120/1), Greenbrier (93/0), Hampshire (76/0), Hancock (108/4), Hardy (57/1), Harrison (218/3), Jackson (162/0), Jefferson (287/7), Kanawha (922/13), Lewis (28/1), Lincoln (87/0), Logan (228/0), Marion (187/4), Marshall (127/4), Mason (56/0), McDowell (61/1), Mercer (196/0), Mineral (119/2), Mingo (171/2), Monongalia (922/17), Monroe (20/1), Morgan (27/1), Nicholas (36/1), Ohio (265/3), Pendleton (39/1), Pleasants (12/1), Pocahontas (40/1), Preston (104/21), Putnam (194/1), Raleigh (246/7), Randolph (205/5), Ritchie (3/0), Roane (15/0), Summers (11/0), Taylor (55/1), Tucker (10/0), Tyler (13/0), Upshur (37/3), Wayne (206/2), Webster (4/0), Wetzel (42/0), Wirt (6/0), Wood (235/12), Wyoming (31/0).

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