With the threat of COVID-19 looming, people in Jackson County are concerned for the health of their families, friends, and community.

On March 23, Governor Jim Justice declared a “Stay-at-Home” order for the people of West Virginia. The order required people to stay home when possible, only going out for necessary trips for food, medicine, or to check on family members. Other exceptions were for those who are involved with “essential businesses.”

Many Jackson Countians are heeding the Governor’s warning; however, there are some concerns that others may not be taking the pandemic seriously.

“To me, we are having no problem staying home. We do miss all of our activities that we would normally be doing. But, while we are doing what we are suppose to be, there are so many others not,” Katie Casto said. “When I think of essential - I think healthcare, police, fire, grocery, gas, water, power – coal, and probably a few more I’ve missed. But there are so many on the essential list that should NOT be there!”

“I am thankful that I work from home, and have been since August 2019. I only go out to pick up medications from Kroger pharmacy, since I am there I pick up a few things we need. We went fishing Saturday and was glad to see most people were abiding by the distance rule. But we really need to only go out if necessary so this pandemic will end soon,” Susie Sodaro Monday said.

“Eventually not working will make it harder on people. Right now I have money for bills, but if the company I work for stays closed down for a long period of time, it will start worrying me on how I will be able to pay my bills,” Sandy Boggess said. “I don’t have to sign up for unemployment yet, but I hope it works out like they say it is suppose to once I do have to apply.”

“What I hate most is that I’m considered ‘essential,’ or my job is. I work midnights at a gas station. I have not hugged my son or granddaughter in so long I ache. I’m trying my best to do my part, but I see so many people out living their lives like nothing is going on. I am distancing myself from my family to keep them safe. I wish others had the same consideration,” Sherry Bailey said.

According to Emily Casto, her husband was laid off due to the pandemic.

“I’m not sure if he will ever get to go back to work,” she said. “Staying home for us is nothing. It’s really easy. I just wish other people would start taking this seriously. Too many are out and about acting like it’s nothing.”

“I work at a essential business,” Jordan Williams said. “While I’m thankful for my job and I’m happy to be able to help, there are still way too many people out, just to be out. They aren’t taking this seriously. This isn’t just a common cold. Stay home, if you need something essential, go out and get it, then go back home. This isn’t a joke. People who are working are risking our lives to serve you, please be respectful of that.”

“Honestly, it annoys me on how people aren’t taking it seriously,” Kitrina Chamberlain said. “They pretend like it’s just the common cold and that scares me. I work in fast food so I’m scared I could take this home to my family. I have co-workers who are in fear of their children getting it. But my co-workers, honestly, need the money so they can’t afford to take two weeks off. I wish people would just listen to the stay at home order and seriously not go out unless they need to.”

Marsha Shinn-Crowder said she has been fortunate to have been able to work from home for the last six years; however, she recently learned that her employer is going to begin furloughing people. That is something she said worries her.

“I have two chronic illnesses and have always been an introvert, so staying home doesn’t bother me,” she said. “My husband is a local truck driver driving all over West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and sometimes Pennsylvania. While he has been taking the necessary precautions, I still worry about him bringing the virus home to our son and I.”

According to Crowder, she has only ventured out once a week since the stay home order was put in place, and that was for necessities.

“It amazes me the people that have no concept of what is going on and are still living their life as normal, while risking the lives of others,” she said. “The whole thing makes me nervous, but I can’t sit and think about it and get stressed out, or I will literally make myself sick. The best I can do is stay in my bubble and make sure my family is doing our best to stay virus free.”

Jessica Ball’s husband is a diesel mechanic and considered an essential employee.

“Having him come home, follow guidelines, and immediately separating him from the kids until he has showered and disinfected things properly has been difficult,” Ball said. “I know his job has yet to have a single safety meeting on this particular issue, which is alarming. However, we will continue to do what has to be done at home to ensure that our loved ones do not endure this deadly disease. It’s really the least we can do.”

Amy Mullinex Ramsey said COVID-19 has her sacred for not only herself, but everyone around her.

“I’m scared, it’s all around us, literally. I have a compromised immune system, asthma, and two clotting disorders,” she said. “Worse though? I have three kids with asthma and my baby girl has a large hole in her heart. We go to the store and she stays with my adult daughter, who lives a mile away.”

According to Ramsey, she now has a routine for when she has to leave her home.

“I sanitize my hands 30 plus times, wear a mask, grab what I need, and get out. I come home, sit everything out of bags on a sheet on the porch and I throw away the bags.”

It is only after these steps and several more, that Ramsey will then call her daughter to bring her little one home.

“People need to take it more seriously,” she said.

Cindi Walcutt said all she can do is pray.

“Staying in doesn’t bother me. Worrying about others and not being able to help does bother me,” Walcutt said. “The hoarding, the price of food rising, just doesn’t sit well with me. Our elders live on a fixed income that isn’t enough to begin with and now they have to scrimp even more. The homeless have not even been mentioned, as far as I know. I just pray, pray, and then pray some more for the ones suffering through this mess.”

Amber Romeo suggests that all stores need to make a one person, one buggy rule, as well as limiting the number of people in the store at one time.

“You don’t need 30 people in Dollar General at once,” she said. “I’m highly disappointed in Jim (Governor Jim Justice) and how he’s handled this whole situation!”

Others have questions concerning how things should be done during COVID-19.

“I would like to know about shared parenting during this outbreak,” Zack Barnes said. “Some of my family are having a hard time with this. I’m seeing a lot of arguing. Especially for the parents that live in different states.”

With all the different views and opinions, the people of Jackson County can agree that COVID-19 is unlike anything this state has ever seen, and we all want to ensure that our families, friends, and community stay safe.