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Cabell County faces COVID-19 death

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HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — One of the counties Gov. Jim Justice is keeping an eye on is Cabell—where after showing good numbers early on—a spike has been happening in recent weeks.

Cabell County faced it’s first COVID-19 death this week and is continuing to see rising numbers of active cases week after week.

Daily: WEEKLY:

Unfortunately, this is on-trend for what’s happening with the pandemic nationally right now.

Dr. Michael Kilkenny, M.D., M.S., physician director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, says right now, residents of this county need to be cautious.

“We don’t have to be afraid, we have to be alert,” Kilkenny said.

This is the message the Cabell-Huntington Health Department is conveying after the an 84-year-old man lost his life to the virus Thursday.

“The case count is going up, slowly. And we want it to go up slowly. It is still going up faster than we want. If we were going to color-code ourselves, we would be in a caution zone. We would be yellow.” 

Dr. Michael Kilkenny, M.D., M.S., Cabell-Huntington Health Department

 A look at the numbers of positive cases reported by the county over the last two weeks speaks to Kilkenny’s concerns.

At 10 a.m. on June 26, 2020, the county had just 104 confirmed cases—but the following weeks, the numbers began climbing, significantly.

Additionally, over a four-week period, the number of confirmed cases climbed by more than 100 infections.

“We’d like to get to green, we have the opportunity to get back to green.  If we follow the governor’s mandate with facemasks, that’s our best weapon right now against this.” 

Dr. Michael Kilkenny, M.D., M.S., Cabell-Huntington Health Department

The community seems at odds, however, with judging how well it is doing with the new mandates.

One resident, Chuck Hanshaw, feels positive about community compliance.

“I think since the governor mandated it being all buildings except for the outside and your home, I believe the citizens are,” Hanshaw said.

However, Tabatha Rowe judges the situation oppositely.

“No one really practices social distancing. You see groups of people like in the Dollar Store, in Walmart, and nine out of ten people have a mask but that one person that doesn’t. You’re going to have that issue,” Rowe said.

Whatever the reality, cases are still rising. But, the guidance from the state and county remains clear.

“The public needs to know that you do have some capacity to change the statistics. When we follow this guidance that we get, we actually change the curve, and it’s effective.”

Dr. Michael Kilkenny, M.D., M.S., Cabell-Huntington Health Department

Kilkenny says the Cabell-Huntington Health Department is continuing to plan for every contingency, and are even already planning for how to distribute a vaccine, if and when we ever receive one.

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