WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. — Wirt County was one of five red counties, signifying “substantial” coronavirus transmission, on Monday’s daily County Alert System Map from the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
Ritchie County dropped to a level below in orange for “heightened” transmission after spending Sunday under the red designation.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department serves both Wirt County and Ritchie County along with Calhoun County, Pleasants County, Roane County and Wood County.
Wood County joined Ritchie County in orange Monday on the daily DHHR map after being labeled red on the separate Saturday Education Map.
Carrie Brainard, the public information officer for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, said the colors reflected high levels of virus spread ahead of Thanksgiving, the highest levels seen in the MOV region since the start of the pandemic.
After the holiday, “I’m afraid we’re going to have even a higher increase,” Brainard said.
“People are going to be traveling. Kids are going to be out of school. People are going to want to go places and do things and I’m just afraid it’s going to escalate even more. Hopefully, people will not take it to the elderly.”
From the start of the pandemic in the spring until the end of September, Brainard said nearly 500 total COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the Mid-Ohio Valley counties.
In October, the area topped 500 cases.
That level was again reached within just the first ten days of November.
For Wood County, specifically, “It’s been so difficult to even keep up with doing the case investigations, let alone the contact tracing,” Brainard said.
In Wirt County and Ritchie County, “They’re so small and they have to do a 14-day window and it doesn’t take very many cases for them to change colors quickly,” she said.
Thanksgiving was not going to help case numbers, in Brainard’s view.
Her advice for those getting together was to keep distance from others and to wear masks when not eating.
“We’re going to try to do all of those precautions because we don’t want to spread it even more,” she said.
Pre-Thanksgiving free COVID-19 testing events involving the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department included the following events:
Monday, Nov. 23, 2020
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Vienna Recreation Center, 510 33rd Street, Vienna, WV
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Wirt County Primary Center, 438 E. Schoolview Street, Elizabeth, WV
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Ellenboro Fire Department, 103 E. Washington Avenue, Ellenboro, WV
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Parkersburg High School, 2101 Dudley Avenue, Parkersburg, WV
Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Parkersburg High School, 2101 Dudley Avenue, Parkersburg, WV
Pre-registration for the listed testing events was available HERE.
The full testing schedule for all of West Virginia was posted on DHHR’s coronavirus website.