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Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital along Norway Avenue is seen on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — State health officials are continuing to monitor an outbreak of COVID-19 at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington.

As of Friday afternoon, there were 39 positive staff members — four more since Wednesday — and 24 positive patients at the hospital. COVID-19-positive patients are separated in a wing of the hospital. Positive staff must quarantine at home.

Dr. Ayne Amjad, state health officer, visited the hospital Wednesday after the outbreak was first reported. She said she toured regular wings and the COVID-19 wings of the hospital and spoke with both staff and patients. Testing of patients and staff is being upped to two times a week.

She said she plans to return this weekend.

“It’s a very large facility, with close to 400 staff and 100 patients,” Amjad said. “The staff is doing the best they can under the circumstances.”

The West Virginia National Guard also visited the facility to disinfect, including the HVAC system.

Gov. Jim Justice said he had not yet spoken with Amjad about her report, but said he knows in his gut there is more going on at Bateman than they really know.

Staff members at the facility have continued to express fear and frustration at how the situation is being handled, including in emails sent to The Herald-Dispatch. Many say protocol is not being followed.

“They allow staff to work sick, thus infecting everyone else,” one employee wrote.

Staff members at the facility picketed outside the state-run psychiatric hospital on Norway Avenue in September. They reported no patient had yet been tested for COVID-19 at that time, along with low staffing further exacerbated by the pandemic.

Amjad said when there are concerns to this level, the state will continue to ask questions.

Reporter Taylor Stuck can be reached at tstuck@hdmediallc.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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