Monroe County; once green, now red deals with community spread issues

UNION, W.Va. — Monroe County is currently the only county in West Virginia with a “red” designation on the COVID-19 alert map.

Monday’s map had the rolling 14-day average of new COVID-19 cases at more than 37.

Monroe Health Center Chief Operations Officer Michelle Ballard said her county is in the midst of a community spread situation.

Michelle Ballard

“This is just a true reflection of what’s going on in the community,” Ballard told MetroNews. “We are indeed seeing community spread. We are in an outbreak and hoping folks take note of that and will be cautious, wear your mask, follow the guidelines and social distance.”

A “red” designation further limits social gathering numbers, shuts down all school extra-curricular activities and if Monroe County remains “red” on Saturday, Sept. 5, it will begin the school year with online/remote instruction.

Ballard said there continue to be multiple cases at the Springdale Center nursing home in Lindside. The state website listed 35 residents and 24 staff members as of Monday who have tested positive. The numbers are likely higher because of a lag in posting the data. Five residents of the nursing home have died, Ballard said.

Most of West Virginia small counties are in the “green” designation with just a few positive cases. Ballard said it wasn’t long ago that Monroe County was in good shape.

“Just a couple of weeks ago we were green as well, so things can turn very quickly,” Ballard said. “This virus spreads very easily and very quickly and it’s had a huge impact on our small county.”

Ballard said Monroe County will get its numbers down as more residents following the guidelines. She said the acceptance of those guidelines by residents has produced mixed results.

“We’re seeing both schools of thought; we’re seeing folks who adamantly want to follow the guidelines and slow the spread and others who are perhaps non believers in some degree and think that it’s an infringement,” she said.

Gov. Jim Justice said Monday he’s hopeful Monroe’s numbers begin to go down soon.

“We hate it like crazy for Monroe County but hang with it. We’ll get you through this and we’ll get you back,” Justice said.

DHHR Monday numbers

The state did report the 214 COVID-19-related death Monday. A 58-year-old man from Raleigh County recently died.

“We join with the family in grieving the passing of this gentleman,” state Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said.

The state listed 140 new COVID-19 cases Monday with currently active cases topping 2,000 at 2,019. The daily positive test rate is 2.80 percent. The DHHR said 139 people are hospitalized with the virus; 49 in ICU and 23 on ventilators.

Overall confirmed cases per county include: Barbour (33), Berkeley (801), Boone (139), Braxton (9), Brooke (88), Cabell (541), Calhoun (10), Clay (27), Doddridge (6), Fayette (292), Gilmer (18), Grant (141), Greenbrier (105), Hampshire (92), Hancock (122), Hardy (73), Harrison (265), Jackson (202), Jefferson (356), Kanawha (1,417), Lewis (32), Lincoln (115), Logan (484), Marion (220), Marshall (133), Mason (104), McDowell (70), Mercer (310), Mineral (145), Mingo (243), Monongalia (1,126), Monroe (123), Morgan (38), Nicholas (52), Ohio (293), Pendleton (44), Pleasants (15), Pocahontas (42), Preston (140), Putnam (283), Raleigh (363), Randolph (224), Ritchie (5), Roane (31), Summers (19), Taylor (105), Tucker (11), Tyler (15), Upshur (43), Wayne (248), Webster (7), Wetzel (46), Wirt (9), Wood (308), Wyoming (67).

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