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West Virginia Mask Army volunteer Debra Rexrode of Grant County sews masks in her home.

As businesses continue to shutter and the state keeps a wary eye on the continually rising COVID-19 pandemic, many local volunteers are finding a way to give back to those fighting the illness on the front lines.

One of the biggest issues currently facing the nation is an all around lack of protective supplies, with hospitals and health departments struggling to receive enough stock to combat potential outbreaks. However, while the nation is working to shore up production of these supplies, it has been community volunteers that have stepped up to fill some of this need – and Grant Countians have been no exception.

One protective supply sorely lacking in the country is protective face masks and West Virginia Mask Army, a state-wide nonprofit, is helping to fill that gap. The program is volunteer based, with many communities around the state creating their own “hubs” to fill supplies for their local agencies.

Late last month, an outdated registration stop ended in the discovery of more than 2.3 grams of methamphetamine and the arrest of a Petersburg woman.

On March 18, Gloria L. Merritt, 41, of 1771 Ridge Rd., Maysville, was pulled over after an officer with the Grant County Sheriff’s Department noticed her vehicle registration was expired while stopped at the stop light on Virginia Avenue in Petersburg.

The Hardy County couple arrested last year for burning down a storage building in Petersburg have now been indicted by a Grant County grand jury.

Hunter Todd Largent, 36, and Marci Lynn Largent, 46, of P.O. Box 883, Moorefield, were indicted on charges of second degree arson, 16 counts of third degree arson and three counts of causing injury during arson.

The fire occurred in December 2019, when officers and firefighters were dispatched to an active fire at one storage facility in Petersburg, containing 20 individual storage units. The total value of property loss from the fire is estimated to be more than $150,000.

In order to ensure safety during the pandemic, several local services are making changes to their routine practices.

One of these changes was announced last week, with the City of Petersburg announcing that all city trash must be in plastic bags and tied, or it would no longer be picked up.

West Virginia Mask Army is a statewide nonprofit that is helping to fill the gap in face mask supplies and is playing a crucial roll in the health of Grant County citizens. The program’s Potomac Highlands Hub is being headed by Kim Musser of Grant County and has already produced over 1,000 face masks for essential organizations, such as Grant Memorial Hospital, local fire departments and law enforcement. 

The masks, which are made from polypropylene furnace filters, are far more effective at filtering airborne particles then their cloth counterparts.  The program has received support from the National Guard and is being headed up by a biologist at Marshall University.

As protective medical supplies nationwide continue to be stretched thin, many states have looked to community efforts to potentially assist in filling those needs until supplies become more readily available. Anyone who would like to volunteer to sew can learn more by visiting their Facebook page “WV Mask Army Potomac Highlands Hub” and those who would like to donate towards the effort can do so at this link: Grant County Ministerial Association Mask Fundor by clicking the button on the Grant County Press home page.

April 7, 2020 Grant County Public Information

By Sandria Glasscock, RN

Public Information Officer

To get up to date information about COVID 19 go to the new dashboard at www.coronavirus.wv.gov or  www.cdc.gov  if questions call the WV Public Health hotline at 800 887 4304.

As of April 6, 2020, WV reported   345 positive   9940 Negative   4 deaths   

If you have unexplained fever, cough, or shortness of breath or sudden loss of smell please do NOT leave your home, call Grant Memorial Hospital (304) 257 1026 and press 5 to speak to an ER nurse to help determine if testing is indicated.  

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed or have symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive. 

Grant Memorial Hospital (GMH) has tested for COVID19 in Grant and surrounding counties, to date Grant County has no Positive Cases. There have been 2 in Hardy Co, 1 in Pendleton Co, and 2 in Mineral Co. These positives were not tested at GMH.  

Positive COVID19 cases reported to WVDHHR:  Barbour 2, Berkeley 54, Cabell 7, Greenbrier 3, Hancock 6, Hardy 2,  Harrison 25, Jackson 16, Jefferson 22, Kanawha 56, Logan 6, Marion 17, Marshall 5, Mason 4, Mercer 4, Mineral 2, Monongalia 53, Morgan 3, Ohio 15, Pendleton 1,  Pleasants 1, Preston 4, Putnam 8, Raleigh 4, Randolph 3, Roane 2, Taylor 1,  Tucker 3, Upshur 1, Wetzel 2, Wirt 1, Wood 11. 

Grant County must have the cooperation of every citizen and business to keep us from mirroring what is happening in Berkeley County right now. Berkeley County did not have their first case until March 24, eleven short days ago. Now they have 54 people positive for COVID19 and increasing daily. Because of this cluster in the Eastern Panhandle (Morgan, Jefferson and Berkeley Counties) Governor Justice issued an executive order on April 3 that limits group gatherings to five people and allows the health department in those counties to take action to enforce the regulation under the governor’s order. On April 4, he extended that order to Kanawha, Harrison and Monongalia Counties. 

Please continue to do your part to keep everyone safe. 

Stay at home unless working at an ESSENTIAL business. Make as few trips as possible to grocery stores, some are providing order ahead purchases to limit exposure. 

Avoid close contact: If you must go out for essential services, you must keep at least 6 -8 feet away from others even if groups of 10 or less. 

New guidelines advise a cotton mask will help prevent those that do not have symptoms but have the COVID virus from spreading it. 

Wash your hands frequently, especially after touching any surfaces if in public. 

Keep your hands away from your face. 

Cover coughs and sneezes use the inside of your elbow or use a tissue and throw used tissue immediately into the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use 60% hand sanitizer if water not available. 

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily (tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.  

Use most common EPA approved disinfectants, or to make bleach solution mix 1/3 cup bleach per gallon of water, or 4 tsp per quart. 

If surfaces are dirty, clean with detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. 

New Guidelines for Hotels, Motels and Lodging 

Currently, there are no restrictions on who can enter West Virginia’s borders but rather on who must quarantine. The Governor’s self-quarantine order specifies that out of state guests from certain hot spots must self-isolate. The Executive Order lists a few examples of states and countries, by way of example only, that are “areas of substantial community spread of COVID-19,” but the Order explicitly says that those examples are “without limitation.” Obviously, the number of areas with substantial community spread is increasing every day and will be ever-changing as this pandemic continues.

Lodging providers are asked to contact local law enforcement if they suspect guests or patrons are violating or flouting the requirement to self-isolate for the first 14 days of their visit or the duration of their stay. 

John Glenn Riggleman, 31, of 256 Riggleman Dr., Moorefield, was indicted on charges of burglary and grand larceny. Riggleman’s charges stem from an incident in December 2019 when officers responded to a possible breaking and entering call on Kellers Ridge Road.

According to the report, the resident of the home was awaken by a noise at approximately 3 a.m. When the resident went to investigate the noise, he saw his weather monitor had been broken, looking as if it had been stepped on or smashed.

The resident then noticed a vehicle light outside of his home. He then proceeded to go to the vehicle, with a pistol for protection, and demanded the driver to get out of the vehicle.

A Petersburg man is facing multiple charges following an encounter with law enforcement officers outside of a local grocery store, which left some local shoppers startled.

Gareth Paul Berg, 37, of 93 Brook Lane, Petersburg, was arrested after Patrolman K. R. Thorne, acting on behalf of the Petersburg City Police, observed him in the parking lot outside of Shop n’ Save and Family Dollar in Petersburg. At the time, Berg appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance.

Last week, the Grant County Commission signed a resolution declaring the wrongful manufacturing, distribution and dispensing of prescription pain pills, including hydrocodone and oxycodene, a public nuisance to the people of Grant County. The decision to sign the resolution was made during their regularly scheduled March 24 meeting.

Between 2006 and 2014, approximately 3,760,720 prescription pain pills were sold in Grant County, which had a 2010 census population of 11,937 people. That equates to 315 pills for every man, woman and child during that time period.

“The dumping of millions of pain pills into our community has spawned a public health and safety hazard to the residents of Grant County, devastating our families, hurting our economy, wasting our public resources and creating a generation of narcotic dependence,” the resolution claims.

Congratulations to this year’s Golden Horseshoe winners from Grant County: Landon McGinnis, Bryson Riggleman and Ryen Sites, all Petersburg High School eighth grade students.

This recognition honors students earning the highest achievement in knowledge of West Virginia history and culture.

The Golden Horseshoe Test has been administered in West Virginia each year since 1931 and is the longest running-program of its kind in any state. The top-scoring students in each county receive the prestigious award and are inducted as “knights” and “ladies” of the Golden Horseshoe Society.”

The Golden Horseshoe award is considered one of the greatest honors bestowed upon students in West Virginia.

This year’s ceremony has been postponed. An optional knighting ceremony will take place when the WVDE deems it is safe during the 2020-2021 school year.

As schools around the nation remain closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Grant County School district is striving to ensure students have access to meals.

According to Tamara Gossard, the Grant County director of nutrition, the county is providing nearly 800 meals for local students. This includes breakfast and lunch five days a week.

Based on guidance from the West Virginia Department of Education, Grant County is providing meals for children ages two to 18 every Monday.

Meals are being packaged at the school and delivered by drivers to preplanned drop-off points around the county.

Packaging is being done by school administrators, teachers, bus drivers and other volunteers.

Both Gossard and superintendent Doug Lambert expressed their goals to ensure no student goes without a reliable meal sources during the closure. “Much work is being performed to make this a reality,”

Lambert said. “If you have the chance, thank those who are selflessly giving their time and effort in this once in a lifetime event that I hope we never see again.”

Petersburg, WV

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