A jump in confirmed Covid-19 cases on Tuesday in Raleigh County has been attributed to transmissions at correctional facilities, according to Candy Hurd, the county’s health department nursing director
In an email exchange with The Register-Herald, Hurd did not identify which facilities were having problems with the virus or how many Covid-19 cases had been identified at each.
The Department of Health and Human Resources reported 20 additional cases of the highly infectious disease in the county, pushing its total to 443, the second most of any county in The Register-Herald’s nine-county primary market. Fayette County has recorded 481 cases.
In an email, Hurd wrote, “We have seen additional cases associated with correctional facilities.”
She also stated that there were “no school outbreaks at this time.”
On Monday, Superintendent David Price confirmed that a student at Daniels Elementary had tested positive for Covid last week.
The bump in cases – 50 in the last week – has pushed the county’s seven-day rolling average of cases per 100,000 population to 9.74, up from 3.89 a week ago.
That puts the county on razor’s edge of entering the new “gold” color on the state’s Covid metrics map, called the School Alert System Map, which measures the coronavirus spread. In gold, there are additional precautions for in-person schooling, including the requirement that students in grades 3-12 wear face coverings at all times. Gold permits prep athletic teams to compete, but only against in-county opponents or teams from other gold counties.
Gold counties on Tuesday were Fayette, Putnam, Boone, Logan and Mingo.
Justice said those counties could hold in-person classes as soon as today, Wednesday.
Monroe County, which was indentified on Tuesday as being in a more restrictive orange territory according to the West Virginia Department of education map, had lowered its seven-day rolling average to 8.61 – safely in yellow – on the DHHR map and free to start school and athletic competitions without restrictions. There was no explanation from the state for the discrepancy.
With 24,336 lab results, Raleigh County’s cumulative positive test rate was 1.8 percent on Tuesday – below the state average of 2.65 percent. The state’s daily positive test rate was 4.15 percent.
Raleigh County has six deaths.
Governor Jim Justice incorrectly reported Tuesday that a 66-year-old woman from Mercer County had died as a result of Covid-19.
But the woman was actually from Raleigh County, local and state officials confirmed later in the day.
Allison C. Adler, director of communications for the DHHR, later confirmed the error.
“The death should be attributed to Raleigh County instead of Mercer,” Adler said.
Brenda Donithan, interim administrator of the Mercer County Health Department, said the woman was initially reported as being from Mercer County, but was in fact from Raleigh County.
Donithan said a computer glitch, or an incorrect patient registration, may have led to the initial error.
Including the Raleigh County death, the DHHR reported five Covid-related deaths on Tuesday, a day after reporting nine such deaths.
The other deaths were an 87-year-old man from Logan County, a 93-year-old woman from Mason County, and two deaths from Kanawha County – an 88-year-old woman and a 91-year-old woman.
Fayette County reported five more confirmed cases of Covid on Tuesday, Mercer County added four, Nicholas County three and Greenbrier and Wyoming counties two each. Greenbrier, Monroe and Summers counties did not record any additional cases.