Essential reporting in volatile times.

Not a Subscriber yet? Click here to take advantage of All access digital limited time offer $2.99 per month EZ Pay.

Interested in Donating? Click #ISupportLocal for more information on supporting local journalism.

LOGAN — The Logan County Health Department recently confirmed two active positive cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the county’s cumulative total number of cases to 23.

The county’s two latest — and currently active — cases are a 48-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman, according to Logan County Health Department Director Steve Browning. The two were confirmed positive for the virus Sunday, and both are at home under self-quarantine. Both have shown symptoms, Browning said.

Browning attributed the cases, as well as the recent spike in cases across West Virginia as a whole, to the increased out-of-state travel that inevitably comes with the summer season. Although Logan County has not been affected by any outbreaks or spikes yet, Browning said the possibility is always there.

“I’ve said for quite some time that once people start traveling again, it’s natural to assume that our numbers will increase,” Browning said. “It just depends on how much and how quick of a time that is before it really becomes a spike. I would anticipate the second half of July and August being more than ordinary numbers, and potentially a little bit sooner than that. It’s just like anything else — the bigger crowds you get in, the more opportunity that you’re going to have to come in contact with somebody that would be a positive. Statistically speaking, that’s just how that works.”

One such event that has the potential to attract large crowds is the West Virginia Freedom Festival in downtown Logan from July 1-4, which has garnered some concern from local residents. As part of Gov. Jim Justice’s plan to reopen fairs and festivals in the state, a set of guidelines was put forth, and Browning said if people who want to attend the festival follow those guidelines strictly, the risk of contracting the disease should be greatly eliminated.

“If you’re following those strictly and you’re wearing masks in crowds or around it and everybody’s got a mask on, it will eliminate your opportunities,” Browning said. “But the thing is, people are not excited about wearing masks, and therefore, they reject the opportunities when they can, so it’s just going to depend upon how really strict, I think, that’s being monitored and how well they enforce that, and I would encourage everybody to go out and have fun if you want to have fun, but take all the precautions, not only to protect you, but to protect maybe your family members or somebody else that you’re going to be around in the long run. You’re going to run into somebody who might not be as healthy as you are, and that’s the issue.”

People wanting more information about being tested may call the Logan County Health Department at 304-792-8630. Some local health providers are also providing testing.

The first case of COVID-19 in Logan County was confirmed March 25. Since then, 20 individuals have recovered and one has died.

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.