Rising COVID numbers prompted health department to make changes

Marshall County

MARSHALL COUNTY, W. Va. (WTRF)

Rapidly rising numbers have plunged Marshall County back into the red zone.

So health officials are making some changes.

They are now requiring everyone to wear a mask in order to enter the health department.

And they’re seeing lots more people coming through their drive-through testing line—with symptoms.

“We’ve seen a very rapid rise in cases here right now,” said Mark Ackermann, threat preparedness director. “We’re afraid we’re going to see an influx of cases.”

Out of 50 tests in the county yesterday, 13 came back positive.

“We have a lot more people coming to get tested this month than we did last month,” said Michelle Stephenson, 911 dispatcher. “A lot of people coming back from vacations are having symptoms.”

So what do they believe is driving the increase?

“Once the governor declared you didn’t need to wear a mask, people weren’t wearing them,” Ackermann noted. “You have people coming back from trips. We’ve had different large events going on. And no one is wearing a mask.”

The cases they’re seeing are the original variant, he said.

He believes the later variants are coming—it’s a matter of when, not if.

He says the delta variant is more contagious with a much faster onset.

So the health department administrator has ruled you must wear a mask to enter the health department.

And he went one step further.

“He has also recommended that people wear masks out in public,” Ackermann said. “We can not make any rules or mandates about the general public, but he can for this building.”

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s for the best,” said Stephenson. “You need to wear masks to protect yourself and protect others. So get your mask back out of your drawers.”

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