Confirmed COVID-19 cases here topped 200 this week.
The ongoing surge in the pandemic had long lines for free testing on Tuesday and shut down the Springfield Rescue Squad until Thursday.
County schools, meanwhile, stayed open with the exception of Slanesville Elementary as the state’s 5-color status map had Hampshire in the yellow since Saturday.
As of Tuesday morning, Hampshire County had 47 active cases — 9 of them new on Monday — and 4 people hospitalized with the virus.
The total since the pandemic first reached here in late March is 209 confirmed and 19 probable cases. Probables were identified through rapid testing.
While the infection rate remained at Orange Status levels this week, the positivity rate stayed in the Yellow to keep in-person instruction alive.
Thursday will be the last day for students to be in class until Dec. 7, apparently. Friday is already a planned virtual instruction day and classes are out next week for the buck season and Thanksgiving holiday.
Gov. Jim Justice has ordered schools to keep their doors closed through Thursday, Dec. 3, and with Hampshire schools in virtual mode on Fridays, students won’t be face to face with teachers again until Monday, Dec. 7.
The school closings weren’t Justice’s only orders to battle the pandemic this week.
He expanded the face mask order to require anyone age 9 or older to wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places. Previously, masks were not required indoors if social distancing could be maintained.
“In West Virginia, today, we have 339 people hospitalized. That’s an all-time record,” Justice said last Friday. “We have 104 patients in our ICUs. That’s another record. We’re up to 565 deaths.”
“We have got to realize what we’re dealing with here, it is a massive, massive killer.”
Hampshire County’s Health Department is continuing a program of free tests for residents from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each morning through Friday in the parking lot of Hampshire Memorial Hospital.
This is the 3rd week the daily testing has occurred and it was picking up in popularity Tuesday.
Pat Gottschalk, who lives near the hospital, said lines were snaking out of the parking lot.
“It’s one of these days that makes you think about what we’re going through,” she said.
A positive test for someone associated with the Springfield Rescue Squad led County Health Director Stephanie Shoemaker to order the entire squad to quarantine until Thursday.
Rescue Chief Donna Steward credited the county service and Romney Rescue Squad for stepping in to cover runs for Springfield.
The pandemic has thrown neighboring Mineral and Hardy counties into Red Status.
Mineral’s skyrocketing count includes an outbreak at a Keyser nursing home that had grown to 37 people by the weekend.