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Marshall County Church Among COVID-19 Outbreak

CHARLESTON — A church in Marshall County was among several statewide that were identified as being the source of an outbreak of COVID-19 in recent weeks.

The church was not identified either by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources or the Marshall County Health Department. Marshall County was among Boone, Hampshire, Jefferson, and Greenbrier counties affected by the outbreak.

Mark Ackermann, threat preparedness director with the Marshall County Health Department, said that all of the afflicted individuals who attended the local church have since been cleared from isolation, and the church was cleaned at an earlier date.

“Everybody that was involved with that outbreak are all out of isolation,” Ackermann said, adding that they had been released over the last few weeks. “The process of contact tracing and everything takes a little time to find where everybody came from, and now they’re realizing it’s this one specific spot. … The church has done what they need to do with the cleaning. It’s not really a current outbreak, it was just identified as one.

“They’ve already went through and (cleaned) when the people were identified. It’s a delayed notice.”

Ackermann said five people were tied to the outbreak.

The Saturday release from the W.Va. DHHR indicates that Gov. Jim Justice has ordered the DHHR, West Virginia National Guard and county health departments to respond to the outbreak. At least one church was closed for 14 days for cleaning with the help of the National Guard.

“I want to strongly encourage all West Virginians, especially when in church settings, to follow the guidelines and use every other pew, maintain social distancing, and please wear masks,” Justice said. “A lot of the attendance at our churches are those that are elderly and at higher risk, so we are cautioning everyone to strictly follow our guidelines. As I have said many times, we will have stormy seas before we get a vaccine, so it is imperative that we strictly follow the guidelines or the seas will only get rougher.”

“I encourage anyone that has any level of concern to come and be tested,” he added.


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