How the holidays could spark another coronavirus surge

COVID-19 Resources

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — The pandemic brought about many changes for the Fayette County Health Department.

It emphasized how understaffed the department was, and what needed to change.

In October 2021, the department moved into a new building as their old one could no longer facilitate the staff they needed to properly combat the coronavirus, something that would be needed as cases surged and the health crisis continued to increase.

According to Dr. Anita Stewart with the county health department, it is more important now than ever before as cases are rising after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

Looking ahead, she anticipates the coming weeks may turn into what could be a perfect storm.

“We are just in the beginning I think that we are going to see a dramatic increase in numbers over the next week and I think we are going to continue to see high numbers over the next several weeks,” said Dr. Stewart, the Fayette County health officer.

Dr. Stewart attributed this to holiday gatherings and how that, coupled with the increased transmissibility of the omicron variant, could lead to another surge. But she wants to emphasize the importance of preparation over panic.

“This isn’t the first time we have surged so we have that already in place and those plans already in place so it is really about ramping up those resources,” said Dr. Stewart.

In the coming weeks, Dr. Stewart asks dpeople to get tested if they feel sick. She said the symptoms of the omicron variant can mimic those of a simple sinus infection.

She added this is especially important for children going back to school.

“We know that as people gather with the amount of virus that is here we are going to see a lot of viral activity particularly in students so as they come back into the classroom we are asking parents community members to get tested before going back to school,” said Dr. Stewart.

The Fayette county health department has free drive-through COVID-19 testing on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Free testing in your area can be found on the DHHR Coronavirus map.

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