What’s an outbreak? Clarifying the facts of COVID-19

Coronavirus

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – When it comes to the Coronavirus, the word outbreak leaves many people scared. 

How many cases constitute an outbreak may be less than you think. 

According to West Virginia’s definition for businesses, churches, and other organizations, three cases mean there is an outbreak. 

The Wheeling-Ohio Health Department said the First Baptist Church in Wheeling was declared an outbreak because there were three cases not related to a single household.

Many asked why the church didn’t close. The health department said it’s because they aren’t required to. It’s that business or organization’s personal choice.

There’s also no rule that says an organization with a positive COVID-19 outbreak must notify the public.

That’s usually left up to the county health department or the jurisdiction to say ‘we have a case here, we’re notifying people’. The purpose is to let people know that they may have been exposed and maybe they should go get tested, or if they have signs and symptoms go get tested.

Howard Gamble, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department

Churches in West Virginia are to follow Governor Jim Justice’s guidelines for everything from social distancing to providing hand sanitizer. However masks are not required.

What’s not required is masks. Masks are required when you have a food service, but not required at a church. It’s highly recommended. Most churches are following that and they wear or pass out the masks. 

Howard Gamble, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department

Gamble added the church was doing everything it was supposed to before the outbreak to prevent it.

As of noon on Thursday the Health Department reported there were no new cases related to the outbreak at First Baptist Church. They continue to monitor four cases, with more results pending. 

Stay with 7News for updates.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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