By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD — The number of active coronavirus cases in Mercer County climbed to 18 on Friday, continuing an upward trend in new infections.
Mercer County has now reported 18 new COVID-19 cases in the last 11 days with a cumulative total of 31 infections to date. That total includes 13 people who have already recovered from the virus. Another 18 people remain in quarantine, along with 91 other individuals identified through contract tracing, who came into contact with one of the 18 new infections. They too are required to self isolate for two weeks.
According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 3,392 people have been tested to date in Mercer County for COVID-19.
The majority of the new infections that have been reported to date are a result of travel, with more than half of those cases involving travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C., a virus hot spot area, according to Matthew Bragg, sanitarian for the Mercer County Health Department
Contact tracing involves locating those individuals who had direct contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient. Due to potential exposure to the virus, those individuals also are required by health officials to quarantine for a period of time.
So far only one person has been hospitalized in Mercer County as a result of COVID-19 related complications. But that case is no longer considered active and the individual is no longer hospitalized.
A new coronavirus case also was reported Friday in Monroe County, which increased its cumultative total of virus cases to date to nine. However, only one of those nine cases is currently considered active.
In a Facebook posting Friday, the Monroe County Health Department said it is investigating the new case and that it will notify close contacts of the individual who contracted the virus and will monitor them for signs and symptoms of the illness.
The statement added that the health department urges residents of Monroe County to practice social distancing and to wear masks when out in public.
— Contact Charles Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @BDTOwens