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James Redd Jr., pastor of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, right, receives a COVID-19 viral test using a nasopharyngeal swab at a free drive-thru testing site on May 22 in Huntington. The virus dominated daily headlines and was selected as West Virginia’s No. 1 news story in 2020.

HUNTINGTON — There will be a virtual town hall this week to discuss the novel coronavirus and the black community.

Sponsored by the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Marshall University Office of Equity Programs and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Huntington Alumni Chapter, the event will take place via Zoom from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, June 22. Individuals wanting to access the event may do so at

Panelists for the event include Philip W. Carter, professor of social work at the Marshall University College of Health Professions; Debra W. Hart, director of equity programs and Title IX coordinator at Marshall University; and Leonard White, M.D., associate dean for diversity at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Members of Kappa Alpha Psi’s Huntington Alumni Chapter will co-moderate the discussion. Anyone wanting to submit a question for the panel prior to the event should email

Though making up just 3.6% of the population, 7.3% of all COVID-19 cases in the state are black West Virginians and 26% of those patients have been hospitalized, compared to just 14.3% of white COVID-19 patients. In Cabell County, 11.9% of all cases are people of color, despite making up about 5% of the population.

More than 600 people in Cabell County participated in free testing in May organized as part of an effort to address the virus disproportionately impacting people of color in the state and nation.

Additional testing is planned this week when the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard offer free COVID-19 testing opportunities in Cabell, Hancock and Mingo counties.

In Cabell County, testing will be available from 1 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 26, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 27, at the A.D. Lewis Community Center, 1450 A.D. Lewis Ave. in Huntington.

Testing is free to all residents in the county, including those not showing symptoms, and people must show a valid form of identification to be tested. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Similar testing was offered in Putnam County on Friday and Saturday. According to the DHHR, the two-day testing resulted in 607 individuals being tested in that county.

The DHHR reported 2,500 total cases of COVID-19 and 88 deaths in the state as of 5 p.m. Saturday. There have been 148,611 laboratory results received for the virus.

Cases per county (case confirmed by lab test/probable case) are: Barbour (11/0), Berkeley (411/18), Boone (20/0), Braxton (3/0), Brooke (5/1), Cabell (78/3), Calhoun (2/0), Clay (10/0), Fayette (57/0), Gilmer (10/0), Grant (15/1), Greenbrier (48/0), Hampshire (40/0), Hancock (19/2), Hardy (40/1), Harrison (48/1), Jackson (141/0), Jefferson (210/5), Kanawha (256 /8), Lewis (15/0), Lincoln (5/0), Logan (21/0), Marion (51 /2), Marshall (36/1), Mason (15/0), McDowell (6/0), Mercer (19/0), Mineral (51 /2), Mingo (11 /3), Monongalia (136/14), Monroe (8/1), Morgan (19/1), Nicholas (7/0), Ohio (70/0), Pendleton (12/1), Pleasants (3/1), Pocahontas (23/1), Preston (42 /6), Putnam (43/1), Raleigh (29/1), Randolph (149/0), Ritchie (3/0), Roane (12/0), Summers (1/0), Taylor (12/1), Tucker (5/0), Tyler (3/0), Upshur (10/1), Wayne (105/1), Wetzel (9/0), Wirt (4/0), Wood (52 /4) and Wyoming (7/0).

In Ohio, there were 44,262 cases of COVID-19 reported in the state as of 2 p.m. Saturday. There have been 2,697 deaths related to the virus.

In Kentucky, there were 13,630 COVID-19 cases reported as of 4 p.m. Saturday, 183 of which were newly reported. There were two new deaths reported, for a total of 524.

There were more than 32,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported across the country Saturday, bringing the nation’s total to 2,215,618. There have been 119,055 deaths related to the virus.

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