By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD — Health officials in Mercer County have ordered 91 people identified through contact tracing this week to isolate.
Matthew Bragg, sanitarian for the Mercer County Health Department, said all 91 individuals came into contact with one of the 17 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mercer County, and must isolate due to the potential for infection.
Bragg said all 91 people are currently in isolation. In all, 283 people have been identified in Mercer County through contact tracing since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
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.
Mercer County has now reported 17 new virus cases in the last 10 days with a cumulative total of 30 cases to date. So far only one person has been hospitalized in Mercer County as a result of COVID-19 related complications. And that case is no longer considered active.
Of the 17 new cases, Bragg said 50 percent involved travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. and those areas surrounding the beach. Bragg said another 25 percent involve travel to other areas.
Bragg said another 25 percent involve community transmission of the virus, including cohabiting family members.
Two new virus cases were confirmed for Mercer County Thursday morning, according to Bragg. He said both involve travel.
“Thirteen of these positive cases have recovered and are out of isolation,” Bragg said. “Sixteen remain on isolation.
Bragg said another 67 COVID-19 testing results are still pending with those results having not yet been reported to the Mercer County Health Department.
Also Thursday, more than 115 people showed up for a COVID-19 testing program at the Bluestone Health Association location on Thorn Street in Princeton. That testing continues until 2 p.m. today.