CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A coronavirus outbreak linked to a church in southern West Virginia has grown to at least 41 cases, officials said Monday.
The caseload connected to the Graystone Baptist Church in Lewisburg increased after several tests came back positive over the weekend, Greenbrier County health officials said in a statement.
The state has seen multiple outbreaks this month connected to church services and tourism travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Health officials are urging residents to wear face masks and follow safety precautions.
Preston County has reported at least 26 cases stemming from trips to Myrtle Beach. Cabell and Kanawha counties have also reported spikes after residents traveled to the popular beach getaway.
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Republican Gov. Jim Justice has framed reopening as a process of managing risk and says the state can react to virus flare-ups as they emerge. He has already lifted most virus restrictions. Sporting events with spectators can resume Monday and fairs can begin again on July 1, under the governor’s reopening plan.
At least 89 people have died from the virus in West Virginia and about 2,550 have test positive since the outbreak began, state health officials said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.
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