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Hancock, Brooke counties report new virus cases

As a spike in COVID-19 cases has led Gov. Jim Justice to order residents to wear masks when indoors with the exception of homes, officials in Hancock and Brooke counties have reported new cases over the weekend.

On Monday the Hancock County Health Department reported six new confirmed cases over the weekend, bringing the number of active cases to nine.

The nine include three females, ages 15, 31 and 53; and six males, ages 13, 23, 26, 29,45 and 55.

Hancock County health officials said the 55-year-old male and the 53-year-old female didn’t appear to have symptoms but tested positive for the virus.

All others displayed symptoms, with temporary loss of taste and smell common indicators, said Jackie Huff, administrator of the Hancock County Health Department.

As people displaying symptoms test positive for the virus, health officials may test others with whom they’ve had contact, revealing people who also carry the virus but are asymptomatic.

On Monday the Brooke County Health Department reported five new confirmed cases, bringing their active cases to six.

Brooke County health officials said the five new cases include a man in his 60s and four women in their 20s, 30s, 50 and 80s.

In recent weeks they reported a man and woman, both in their 60s, had tested positive after traveling.

Jefferson County health officials have reported 10 cases that have been confirmed through testing or are classified as probable because the individuals displayed symptoms.

Symptoms of the coronavirus can include a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, with the latter three common among younger patients, as well as chest or abdominal pain from coughing or vomiting.

Mike Bolen, administrator of the Brooke County Health Department, was asked how many of the recently diagnosed had traveled. He said two had traveled recently to Myrtle Beach, S.C. and another destination just outside the Tri-State Area.

Bolen said symptoms for the recently diagnosed residents have been mild so far, with a couple displaying no symptoms.

But he and Huff expressed concern about people taking the virus too lightly and being lax in taking measures to prevent its spread.

Huff said, “We hope that people remain diligent in social distancing,wearing face masks in public and continuing to wash hands. If returning from an area outside of this county, we ask that people monitor their symptoms and if returning from a hot spot area, self-quarantine for 14 days.”

Bolen said when planning a trip, “The best thing to do is to seriously consider whether you really need to go.”

He said he understands people being bothered by the pandemic’s impact on their summer activities but as with just a few months ago, precautions against the coronavirus will help to keep it from spreading and affecting those who are most at risk.

“I understand their frustration. It’s a difficult time we’re going through,” Bolen said.

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