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Preston County COVID-19 cases surging

KINGWOOD — Preston County has enough new COVID-19 cases to move into the orange for infection rates, County Health Department Director V.J. Davis said Tuesday.

It’s the first time Preston has gone orange.

On Tuesday, Preston County had a 3.47% positivity rate (ranking it yellow) and 15.81% infection rate (orange) on the State Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) seven-day average map.

The daily positivity rate is the number of tests divided by the number of positives.

The county is still listed as green on the State Department of Education’s map, which only updates on Saturdays.

Preston County students have not been in school this week until Wednesday. Monday was a professional development day and Tuesday was a holiday. Preston Superintendent Steve Wotring said that has allowed for deep cleaning.

“Any cleaning we needed was done,” he said Tuesday evening. “Right now we’re back in until something else would change.”

About 10 students have tested positive for the virus, though it’s hard to keep count because some initially listed as probable subsequently tested negative, he said.

In the last two weeks Preston County has had 53 new COVID-19 positive cases. That’s compared to Oct. 14, when the county had seven active cases.

“We’re very hopeful this surge ends,” Davis said.

The DHHR chooses a county’s color on its map based on the lower of the two rates, infection or positivity. On Tuesday Davis arranged free testing location sites, which will become active if the county slips further on the map.

As of Tuesday, Preston had 211 confirmed cases and 27 probable cases. The county has had four deaths, 182 recovered and 52 active cases.
Davis reiterated his concerns Tuesday. “We are currently experiencing the biggest surge we have had since the pandemic started.”

He reminded everyone again that “The only defense we have against the virus are the choices we make on a daily basis. We can choose the wear a mask or not wear a mask. We can choose to social distance or not social distance. We can choose to attend large gatherings or not attend large gatherings.

“Every time you choose to not wear a mask, not social distance and not avoid large gatherings, the risk for virus transfer increases,” Davis said.