New numbers on water crisis to be discussed in online forum - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

New numbers on water crisis to be discussed in online forum

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DEP officials say at least 10,000 gallons of chemicals leaked from a storage tank at Freedom Industries, contaminating the water supply for nearly 300,000 people. DEP officials say at least 10,000 gallons of chemicals leaked from a storage tank at Freedom Industries, contaminating the water supply for nearly 300,000 people.
CHARLESTON, WV - Updated information about the number of people who reported symptoms after the chemical leak will be released Tuesday, according to Dr. Rahul Gupta, the executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Dept.  "They're significant numbers contrary to our earlier beliefs that maybe not many people got sick," Gupta said. "We estimate that there was a much larger than previously estimated number of people."

Earlier projections indicated 544 people were evaluated at local hospitals as of January 24, according to Allison Adler, a spokesperson for the West Virginia Dept. of Health and Human Resources. Twenty-six patients were put under further examination, then treated and released.

Gupta will release new estimates during an online conference hosted by the National Association of County & City Health Officials between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The presentation will reflect information compiled from two sources: the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and research conducted by Dr. Andrew Whelton in the days following the incident. He claims approximately 100,000 people experienced symptoms from the chemical leak, but only a fraction received or sought medical attention.

Gov. Tomblin later chose Dr. Whelton and several other experts to conduct a separate in-home testing study as the West Virginia Testing Assessment Project (WVTAP). The data yielded from WVTAP testing will not be included in the webinar.

Surveillance surveys from the KCHD sought to uncover how many people experienced symptoms after exposure to the contaminated water; then how many people visited their doctor or the hospital.  

Other speakers include Martha A. McElfresh, with the Office of Laboratory Services within the West Virginia Dept. of Health and Human Resources; Elizabeth Scharman, the managing director of the WV Poison Control Center; and Dr. Mark Kirk, the director of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Health Affairs Chemical Defense Program.

Speakers will also discuss the overall impacts of the water crisis.

If you want to register for the presentation, click here.