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We shouldn’t have been surprised

We knew it was coming.

When we learned Wednesday night that a Jefferson County resident had tested positive for COVID-19 and then discovered Thursday a Hancock County resident had tested positive as well, the news was less a shock than a stark reminder of the necessity for all of us to do what we can to curb the spread of the disease.

We’ve been aware for some time now that positive cases were turning up all around us. Reports had already come from Belmont, Carroll and Columbiana counties in Ohio; Ohio County in West Virginia; and Allegheny, Beaver and Washington counties in Pennsylvania.

That meant that as testing ramped up across the Tri-State Area, we were certain of receiving additional reports of positive results.

And, while we are not in the business of making predictions, the sad reality is we will be receiving even more reports of positive tests across the region in the coming days and weeks.

Please remember that public health officials are providing us with as much information as they can about how the virus is affecting individuals who live in our region. Remember, also, that those who have tested positive for the virus are entitled to their privacy as they recover. As Nicole Balakos, the Jefferson County health commissioner, explained during a town hall meeting held Wednesday, there is a fine line to walk between informing the public about a positive test and releasing so much information that it would make it easy to deduce who the infected person is and the exact area they live in.

It also is important to understand that, in all likelihood, most of those who have and will test positive have carried the virus for days, even weeks. Avoiding new transmissions is critical.

We all know what to do, but a reminder doesn’t hurt: Stay at home. If you have to go out, avoid close contact with other people — a distance of 6 feet or greater is recommended; avoid contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your face, nose, eyes or mouth; stay home from work if you are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue that you then dispose of; clean and disinfect surfaces you touch regularly; liberally use hand sanitizer; and wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

These few, simple precautions will help slow the spread of the virus, which will benefit everyone.

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