OHIO VALLEY — Mason County now has three confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases.
On Friday, the Mason County Commission was notified by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources that three confirmed cases of COVID-19 were found in Mason County.
The first confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus case in Mason County was reported Thursday night.
In a statement prepared by the Mason County Health Department and released by the Mason County Office of Emergency Services (OES), it was reported a person tested at a Mason County facility had tested positive for COVID-19 and that the person has a recent history of international travel.
The statement also reported both the health department and OES were working together to “ensure minimal exposure of COVID-19 to Mason County residents.”
The statement further reported the health department, along with the West Virginia State Epidemiologist, are “closely monitoring the situation.”
“We encourage continued social distancing, frequent hand washing and avoid persons who are sick,” the statement concluded.
Then on Friday, came the report of two more confirmed cases.
Also, on Friday, the Gallia County Health Department posted via its Facebook page the following statement: “The Gallia County Health Department was notified by Holzer Health System of a positive COVID-19 case. This individual is NOT a resident of Gallia County. The Gallia County Health Department will be working with Holzer Health System to notify all Gallia County residents who could have been in contact with this individual. We will update you when we receive more information.”
According to information received in an electronic communication from a Holzer Health System communications representative, “Holzer is currently treating a patient that has tested positive for COVID-19. All protocols are being followed to ensure safety for patients, family and staff. We remain committed to providing care to all patients during this time, as patient care is our number one priority. Holzer has currently submitted 85 collections for testing. Of those 85 tests, we currently have the following results: 1 positive, 35 negative and 49 pending.”
The health system is utilizing protocols established by the Center for Disease Control and Ohio Department of Health for screening and treatment.
Also on Friday the Meigs County Health Department reported there were no confirmed COVID-19 cases after being contacted by Ohio Valley Publishing (OVP).
OVP then contacted Mason County officials for the latest COVID-19 status.
Dennis Zimmerman, director of the Mason County OES and EMS, in a statement released on Friday, reported he was contacted by Holzer Medical Center personnel who informed him that a patient Mason County EMS had treated and transported had tested positive for COVID-19. The positive test was confirmed by the Mason County Health Department, the statement further read.
When asked, Zimmerman said due to privacy concerns, he could not give specifics nor confirm or comment on if the patient transported to Holzer was the same person Holzer, as well as the Gallia Health Department officials referenced earlier in the day.
Transporting COVID-19 positive patients also brings about its own set of issues and protocols.
A statement from Mason County OES read, “Mason County EMS has been following all guidelines and protocols suggested by WV DHHR, WVOEMS, and the CDC regarding PPE for persons with signs and symptoms of COVID 19. In the abundance of caution, MCEMS Director Zimmerman, after consultation with their Medical Director and the Mason County Health Department have decided to self-isolate the crew members for 14 days.
Director Zimmerman says that MCEMS mission is to see to the health and welfare of all our citizens through this pandemic. The coronavirus that causes COVID 19 is here in our county, and he is asking that every citizen help us help you. He advises everyone to first stay calm, we are all in this together, we are a close-knit community, call your family and neighbors, reassure them, we will get through this together. Second, stay put, follow the Governor’s order to stay home, if you do not need to be out for essential services, stay home. Third, stay apart, if you need to go out for essential services, adhere to social distancing (6 feet) when out in public, while out wash/sanitize your hands frequently. Soap and water with vigorous rubbing for 20 seconds is best.
If you are sick, first call your doctor for advice, if after hours or you do not have a doctor, call the WV DHHR hotline at 1-800-887-4304, 24/7, if you are not sick and just want answers to your questions and concerns referring to the pandemic call 211. If you must call 911 for a medical emergency inform the operators exactly what you feel, what your doctor advised, have you traveled, have you or a family member been tested for COVID 19, the more you give our 911 operators, the better we will be able to take care of you. Rest assured if you need an ambulance we will be there, we are all members of the community as well, and our family will be there to help your family.”
As of press time, no further information had been released as to if the two confirmed cases on Friday in Mason County were defined as travel related or community spread.
As previously reported, a COVID-19 patient reported in Gallia County died earlier this week. The Gallia case was discovered to be transmitted via community spread and not due to travel, said public health officials.
In regards to the Gallia case, earlier this week Gallia Health Department representative Tyler Schweickart told OVP “Everybody is wanting to know the age of the individual (Gallia’s recent COVID-19 death), were they immunocompromised or healthy. Something we’re trying to reiterate to people and get out as much as possible and make them understand is that this information is almost irrelevant at this point. The age ranges in Ohio for (positive) COVID-19 at this point are one to 95… At this point, it can affect every age.”
For more information on COVID-19 in West Virginia visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19
Dean Wright contributed to this article.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.