Community COVID-19 testing event scheduled in Monroe County as case numbers climb

MONROE COUNTY, W.Va. — A community COVID-19 testing event was planned for Saturday in Monroe County in response to climbing coronavirus case numbers locally that health officials said were largely connected to an outbreak at the Springfield Center in Lindside.

“COVID has been here all along and we’ve had some positives throughout the community, off and on, since March, but it certainly has had an uptick (recently) related to that facility,” said Michelle Ballard, chief operations officer for Monroe Health Center.

Michelle Ballard

“We were hoping to dodge this, but it is here and now we’re going to deal with it to the best of our ability.”

Monroe Health Center, which is a contractor for services with the Monroe County Health Department, was hosting Saturday’s testing event from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the health center site in Union.

“I certainly hope we get more negatives than positives, but it will help to eliminate those folks who have potential contact and exposure and be able to identify what we need to do within the community from here,” Ballard said.

At the end of the day Thursday, the Monroe County Health Department reported confirmations of 45 positive cases of COVID-19 at the Springfield Center, a Stonerise Healthcare skilled nursing center.

The positives included 27 residents and 18 employees. Three people were said to be hospitalized.

Contact tracing continued at the site on Friday where full testing was conducted earlier this week.

However, Ballard said new positive cases in Monroe County were not limited to the Springfield Center.

“It has been dramatic compared to where we have been. Our numbers have been relatively low up to this point,” Ballard said of the recent case increases in Monroe County.

As precaution, the Monroe County Courthouse was closed to the public until further notice beginning on Friday. Offices were still staffed and services were being handled via phone, mail and online.

On Friday morning, numbers from the state Department of Health and Human Resources showed 31 confirmed or probable total cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County. Eleven of those cases were classified as “active.”

The Springfield cases were not listed on the DHHR’s dashboard for long-term care facilities.

At times in the pandemic, because of steps in the official reporting process, COVID-19 case numbers from local health departments have been more up-to-date than available DHHR data.

As of last Saturday, information from the Monroe County Health Department indicated there were 24 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in Monroe County, eight of them active.

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