KINGWOOD — “I really hope this is not a sign of what is to come with winter.”
That was Preston County Health Department Director V.J. Davis’s response to the county’s latest COVID-19 numbers.
By Thursday, Preston had noted 20 new COVID-19 cases over a six-day span. Nine were reported Thursday — the biggest one-day total during the pandemic, Davis said. Thursday’s numbers included one student from Central Preston Middle School.
This brings Preston County to 171 confirmed and 23 probable cases.
Preston County is currently green under the State Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) County Alert System seven-day average.
But the most recent numbers could push the county out of the green for the first time since the map was created and into the next lower category, which is yellow.
The map notes two rates: the infection rate and the positivity rate. At the end of the day Wednesday, Preston was in the yellow on infections but still in the green on the positivity rate.
The county’s color is set by whichever of the two is best.
The daily positivity rate is the number of tests divided by the number of positives.
A seven-day rolling average is used by the DHHR.
“If we keep this up, we probably are going to hit yellow in both of them,” Davis said Thursday. “We’re definitely seeing an uptick in Preston County that we haven’t seen since the Myrtle Beach outbreak.”
In that instance, 55 confirmed and probable COVID cases were tied to trips to Myrtle Beach.
Of the most recently reported cases, two were prison related, two are believed to be travel related, two were contacts of prior positives, one was a student and others are thought to have been infected through community transmission.
“This virus is not gone, what each of us do or not do on a daily basis can play a huge role as far as transmission in our community,” Davis said. “Please take the proper precautions and do not become complacent.”
If Preston goes yellow, it’s a sign of widespread community transmission and cause for concern and caution, Davis said. If it goes a step lower, to gold, the state requires free community testing sites be set up.