KEYSER - Although West Virginia remains one of the few states in which no Coronavirus cases have been confirmed, the Mineral County Health Department and other key leaders in the healthcare field have been working diligently to be prepared when that time comes.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Although West Virginia remains one of the few states in which no Coronavirus cases have been confirmed, the Mineral County Health Department and other key leaders in the healthcare field have been working diligently to be prepared when that time comes.
“West Virginia has had no confirmed cases at this time,” health department director A.Jay Root told the News Tribune Friday afternoon, quickly adding, “Don’t be fooled. Our state borders are not magical. I think the testing just has not caught up with the virus.”
Root, who is not only director of the local health department but also oversees the entire region of eight health departments, said the departments have been very proactive in “reaching out with our community partners” to make sure everyone is prepared for the worst.
Root has so far met with representatives from WVU Potomac Valley Hospital, superintendent of schools Troy Ravenscroft, Mineral County Office of Emergency Management director Luke McKenzie, and representatives of the surrounding county health departments “to make sure everybody’s on the same page.”
Monday, there will be a meeting with key community leaders such as the county commission, city/town representatives, first responders and others to further ensure everyone is prepared with a consistent response.
As for the public, Root emphasizes the key is to go to credible sources for information.
“There is a lot of false and incorrect information out there,” he said, suggesting that people visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
He also encourages everyone to follow what has become the well-advertised response to preventing any illness - wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and practice “social distancing.”
For now, there is no cure for Coronavirus COVID-19.
“We can treat the symptoms, but it pretty much just has to run its course,” he said, adding that “probably 80 percent will have mild to moderate symptoms.
“It’s those who are 60 and above, who are immuno-compromised,” who have the potential for being hit the hardest.
Root also cautions those who have mild or moderate symptoms to not expect to be tested for the virus - at least not right away.
“They’ll test you first for other respiratory illnesses,” he explained. “If that turns out negative, then they’ll test for other illnesses.”
If those tests also come out negative, the health care provider will then more than likely consider testing for COVID-19.
“But please don’t show up unless you are legitimately having symptoms,” he said. “It’s going to be hard enough on our providers to care for those who are truly sick.”