FAIRMONT — Marion County has its first verified case of novel coronavirus COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning.
According to Lloyd White, administrator of the Marion County Health Department, a Fairmont resident got tested for coronavirus at United Hospital Center, and it came back positive.
"The person is a resident of Fairmont, she is an elderly lady with underlying medical conditions," White said. "We just got confirmation this morning."
Although this is the first case for Marion County, White said he believes there will be more confirmed local cases identified today, and even more in the coming days. However, he said that people should remain calm and continue practicing social distancing, because it is the best way to contain the spread of coronavirus.
"Unfortunately I think we're going to get more cases today," White said. "It's not a death sentence, most people with mild to moderate symptoms will be OK; they'll be self-limiting. But we still need to make sure that we don't let our guard down."
White said one of his concerns is that people in Marion County wouldn't take the social distancing seriously because there were no cases of coronavirus in the county. Now that there is one confirmed case, he said he hopes his worries were not true.
"We certainly don't want people to panic, although we should be concerned," White said. "I hope people weren't waiting until we got our first confirmed case to take it serious about staying at home."
White said it is important to follow the Stay at Home guidelines, because if more and more people contract coronavirus and need medical attention, area hospitals could get overwhelmed and be less able to treat people in need of urgent care.
"If we do the right thing, if we stay at home, if we practice social distancing, if we wash our hands, if we clean and sanitize our surfaces once a day, I firmly believe we'll get through this sooner rather than later," White said. "If each of us don't take this seriously and do our part, at some point in time, our cases are going to continue to grow and we're going to overwhelm our healthcare system."
White said that he would like to see the people of Marion County follow the guidelines to their best ability, in order to contain the spread.
"I would love to see Marion County do 100 percent control basis as we could," White said.
The last official report from the W.Va. DHHR was 39 at 8 p.m. Tuesday night. Cases yesterday jumped from 19 statewide to 39 statewide.