Saturday, September 24, 2022

West Virginia COVID numbers on downward trend

CHARLESTON — COVID cases are decreasing in West Virginia, but the number of deaths remains high, state officials said Wednesday.

Gov. Jim Justice reported during his virtual COVID briefing on Wednesday that an additional 62 deaths from COVID had happened in the state since his last briefing on Monday. The state continues to close in on 6,000 deaths from COVID, with West Virginia’s death toll from the virus now at 5,939 as of Wednesday.

Dr. Clay Marsh, state coronavirus “czar,” encouraged residents to make certain they had received all three doses of their COVID vaccine. This is especially important to those people over the age of 50, he said.

Those vaccinated who are infected with the virus are 17 times safer from having additional infections or complications from the virus, and 14 times less likely to die from COVID, he said.

“We are seeing that many countries are starting to see the end of the omicron surge. It’s getting to be much less of an issue,” Marsh explained. “In the US, we are seeing the number of our cases and hospitalizations reduced, while the number of hospitalizations is still greater than we saw during the delta surge.

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“What is important to recognize is our deaths are still not going down. In fact, we had about 3,400 deaths yesterday in the United States — which is about two-thirds of the highest day we saw before the vaccines, and it’s greater than any time we saw during the delta surge.”

Marsh further advised that although COVID case numbers are decreasing, those going into highly-populated areas — especially if considered medically vulnerable to the COVID — continue to wear a high-quality mask.

“We still anticipate the number of deaths to go up in the coming weeks,” he said.

James Hoyer, director of the State Interagency Task Force, said there are 316 National Guard members assisting health care professionals in 39 facilities — including 35 hospitals, three long-term care facilities and one community mental health facility.

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“Hospital numbers continue to trend downward in the right direction, as does our transmission rate value,” he said. “As Dr. Marsh pointed out, deaths continue to rise.”

Among the deaths read off Wednesday by Justice was a 20-year old male. But the overwhelming number of those dying from COVID are over the age of 50.

Hoyer also encouraged the public to get their booster shots.

“With the third shot — we’ve seen from national data — you are 99% less likely to die, and 96% less likely to go to the hospital (with COVID) if you have that third shot,” Hoyer said.

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