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PETERSBURG, W.Va. — With COVID-19 cases rapidly spiking in Grant County, health department Administrator Sandria Glasscock is urging residents to take the threat of the virus seriously and adhere to public health measures. 

Grant County was identified by Gov. Jim Justice during a Wednesday afternoon press conference as one of four counties in the state with the highest rates of increase of the disease. 

Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Glasscock said there have been 117 cases identified in the county, an estimated 45 of which are active. Since Friday, Glasscock said, there have been 24 new cases within the community.

Many of the county's cases have been connected to the Grant County Rehabilitation and Care Center, which Glasscock said had seen 19 new cases since Friday.

On Wednesday morning, the county health department issued a release stating that after all staff and residents at the center were retested for the disease last week, 13 residents and six staff tested positive.

Glasscock said there are an estimated 38 cases connected to the rehab center. A 92-year-old man residing there, whose death Justice announced Wednesday, was the first Grant County resident to die from complications of the disease.

A second death is suspected to be related to the virus as well, Glasscock said, but that case remains under investigation.

“People have got to listen. They’ve got to take this seriously,” Glasscock said. “Wear masks. Don’t be going to large gatherings. Stay home. Take it seriously and protect each other. They say they don’t worry about themselves, but they’ve got to worry about everybody else.”

Glasscock said residents have not been adhering to the mask order nor observing adequate social distancing.

“I do believe last week when we had an uptick and the death, it did improve somewhat but we’ve got a long way to go,” Glasscock said.

West Virginia reported 7,159 cases of the disease statewide Wednesday morning and 124 deaths.

Follow staff writer Lindsay Renner-Wood on Twitter @LindsayRenWood.

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