County Commission updates

BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Commission livestreamed Thursday morning, in order to uphold their regular meeting.  Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department Nurse Director Sue McKisic, Upshur County Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management Director Brian Shreves, and Dr. Joseph Reed provided COVID-19 updates. 

Dr. Reed commended everyone who is continuously working to pull this task force together.  Dr.  Reed expressed our healthcare workers have made major decisions to make this transition possible.  He informed the commission that the healthcare sector is separating those who may be infected to minimize contamination at the local hospital, as well as some doctor’s offices.  He also explained that the schools deserve major credit for their efforts to serve the kids, as well as transforming to online instruction.  This could bring a possible awakening to how education can be delivered in the future, Dr. Reed expressed.  The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is significant and will depend on the duration and resourcefulness as a community, he stated.  Dr. Reed added that we have already seen many examples of people going above and beyond, and if you have some ideas or have questions, feel free to contact him directly.   

At the time of the meeting, McKisic stated they have not received any positive cases of coronavirus in Upshur County. However, there has now been a confirmed case locally.  The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department is putting information out on their Facebook page to continually update the community.  They are also encouraging the public to keep a journal of who you come in contact with every day and where you go.  McKisic said this information is necessary to help determine if you should be tested and who else may have potentially been infected, should you develop symptoms or have a positive test result. “It is a vicious cycle of tracking,” McKisic expressed, and she does not foresee an end to this any time soon.   

McKisic said they have received several large personal protection equipment (PPE) packets from the National Guard and have given them to St. Joseph’s Hospital, as well as other areas of the community where they are needed. Another distribution may reportedly occur soon.  Dr. Khan’s office is actively separating respiratory related patients from other illnesses and are testing for COVID-19.  This is an official testing site and the labs are sent to Virginia for biopsy.   

Upshur County Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management Director Brian Shreves explained they are continuously monitoring the situation and holding briefings twice a day, as well as various teleconferences.   

The Upshur County Commission approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) Application on behalf of the Upshur County Board of Education.  If awarded, the grant will provide updated emergency notification telephone systems in the county.  Jeff Harvey explained that Lewis County was originally in collaboration with the Upshur BOE; however, they will not be participating in the grant at this time.  They’re at a different place in regard to their phone system compared to Upshur County and felt they wouldn’t be able to dedicate the time to this transition, explained Harvey.  

Commissioners also approved the resolution proclaiming April 2020 as Fair Housing Month. 

The Upshur County Commission made a unanimous decision that meetings will only be held if there is a time-sensitive matter and if meeting is necessary, it will be teleconferenced.  They will keep the public updated.


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