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testing

A technician transfers a coronavirus test sample to another tube for testing at the University of Washington Medicine Clinical Virology Laboratory in Seattle. 

CHARLESTON — Free COVID-19 testing provided by the state will occur in Cabell and Kanawha counties May 22 and 23, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said Friday.

The testing is targeted at minority and other vulnerable populations, but no one will be turned away, Crouch said. An I.D. or other proof of residency is the only requirement, but those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Those without symptoms can also be tested. Testing will occur at existing testing sites and mobile units will be used to reach more rural areas; in Cabell County, locations will be determined and announced at a later date.

The free tests are part of a plan developed by the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, DHHR and the West Virginia National Guard and targets residents who have struggled to be seen by a physician or do not have insurance to pay for testing.

The group was assembled in response to the disproportionate number of black and other minority West Virginians diagnosed with COVID-19. Though only making up 3.6% of the population, 7.4% of all cases in the state are black West Virginians and 30.4% of those patients have been hospitalized, compared to just 15% of white COVID-19 patients. In Cabell County, 16.36% of all cases are black or other than white, despite making up only about 5% of the population.

Testing began Friday and will continue Saturday in Berkeley, Jefferson, Mercer and Raleigh counties. Gov. Jim Justice said Friday during his afternoon press briefing that more than 300 people had already been tested.

Fayette, Mercer, Marion, Mineral and Monongalia counties will also receive testing. Additional areas that require testing and additional dates for testing will be assessed and announced later.

Crouch also provided an update on testing at assisted-living centers and child-care centers.

He said 408 residents and 655 staff members of assisted-living facilities have been tested, with just four staff members testing positive so far. As for child care, he said 22% of all child-care centers have been tested, or 384 staff members, with three positives.

Crouch said about 4% of the entire population has been tested, though that is not enough to determine the prevalence of the virus in the state.

Two new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported Friday — a 76-year-old woman from Wayne County and a 68-year-old man from Kanawha County. The total number of fatalities in the state is now 64.

Thirteen new positive cases were reported statewide Friday, for a total of 1,447. More than 2,700 new test results were received by the state, for a total of 71,682.

Confirmed cases by county are: Barbour (seven), Berkeley (205), Boone (nine), Braxton (two), Brooke (three), Cabell (55), Clay (two), Fayette (38), Gilmer (eight), Grant (six), Greenbrier (eight), Hampshire (12), Hancock (12), Hardy (25), Harrison (34), Jackson (138), Jefferson (96), Kanawha (197), Lewis (four), Lincoln (five), Logan (14), Marion (46), Marshall (23), Mason (15), McDowell (six), Mercer (12), Mineral (26), Mingo (three), Monongalia (114), Monroe (six), Morgan (17), Nicholas (nine), Ohio (38), Pendleton (five), Pleasants (two), Pocahontas (two), Preston (15), Putnam (29), Raleigh (10), Randolph (five), Ritchie (one), Roane (eight), Summers (one), Taylor (eight), Tucker (four), Tyler (three), Upshur (six), Wayne (96), Wetzel (seven), Wirt (three), Wood (45) and Wyoming (two).

In Ohio, outdoor dining, personal care services and medically licensed services resumed Friday. There was no briefing from Gov. Mike DeWine.

There were 597 new positive cases reported, for a total of 26,954, and 47 new deaths, for a total of 1,581.

In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear announced state campground cabins and golf will resume June 1, with camping permitted June 11. Playgrounds and public pools will remain closed, though aquatic centers can reopen for laps or water therapy.

There were 252 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the state Friday, bringing the total to 7,444, and four new deaths, for a total of 332.

There were 1,412,121 cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S. as of Friday, with a total of 85,990 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck

on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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