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Area colleges report a few coronavirus cases

WHEELING — Wheeling University learned of two positive cases of COVID-19 during recent testing on campus, while other colleges in the Northern Panhandle still are awaiting final results on the testing they have conducted.

“We have been notified by the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department that two students have tested positive for COVID-19,” Wheeling University President Ginny Favede said. “According to the health department, both individuals are asymptomatic. The students have been placed in isolation and/or have returned home.

“The university is working with the Health Department on contact tracing for both individuals. As our Return to Campus Plan indicates, our environmental services team will conduct deep cleaning and sanitizing of all places the two individuals have been on campus.”

West Virginia University announced Tuesday it has completed baseline COVID-19 testing on its campuses, and reports positive results well below 0.7 percent.

At WVU, a total of 26,726 tests were collected from students and employees across the WVU System between July 20 and Aug. 22, according to information released by the school on Tuesday.

A total of 24,284 tests were done at the main campus in Morgantown; 1,046 at the campus in Keyser; and 1,396 at the campus in Beckley.

“As anticipated, the number of positive test results rose on the Morgantown campus as testing volume increased over the last week to ten days. However, the total cumulative percent positive remains low at 0.64 percent,” the release states.

Dr. Jeffrey Coben, associate vice president of health affairs and dean of the School of Public Health, praised the results.

“From a public health perspective, this has been a successful effort as we have been able to quickly identify and isolate positive individuals as they come to campus,” he said. “Make-up testing has begun, and we are finalizing plans for further testing that will occur on campus throughout the fall semester.”

The ongoing surveillance testing is anticipated to average 1,500 per week in Morgantown, and will also take place on the other campuses.

The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department reported a total of five positive tests at college testing sites as of Tuesday afternoon.

However, not all lab results are back for the free COVID-19 Clinics held at West Liberty University. Results should be complete soon, according to university officials.

Additionally, the health department has scheduled a make-up clinic for students and staff who missed the initial clinics. This free make-up clinic is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9 in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex.

More information will be shared on this clinic with the staff, faculty and students, via email, according to WLU officials.

Bethany College announced last week a student there tested positive for COVID-19 during the Aug. 14-15 community clinic held on campus by the Brooke County Health Department.

That student returned home to quarantine, and the Brooke County Health Department is handling the contact tracing.

COVID-19 testing has continued on the campus, but updated information was not available on Tuesday.

West Virginia Northern Community College is not doing mandatory testing of its students, said David Barnhardt, director of marketing and public relations.

Guidelines, however, are in place at WVNCC. These include wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding gatherings, and staying home if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

(King can be contacted at jking@theintelligencer.net)

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