CHARLESton, WA (AP) – Active coronavirus cases in West Virginia have dropped dramatically in recent days, prompting one hope that the latest surge is near or past its peak, but warning that deaths and records Swelling will continue even before hospitalization, too, officials said on Monday.
The number of current virus cases across the state fell to 21,490 on Monday, down 28% from Thursday’s pandemic high of nearly 30,000. The caseload has been rising astronomically since early July, when there were less than 1,000 cases, according to state health data.
Last week marked a seven-day record for statewide cases at 9,571, breaking the previous week’s weekly record of nearly 8,900. But Sunday’s 980 positive cases were the first time in 12 days that the count had dropped below 1,000.
While this is a sign that the pandemic is probably easing in terms of people contracting the virus, the toll on hospitals is at a breaking point, Governor Jim Justice said at a news conference.
Working closely with the West Virginia Hospital Association, Justice said he would allocate federal pandemic funds to help reimburse stressed hospitals for staffing issues, expenses and revenue losses.
“We have to step up now and help our people,” Justice said.
The problem is expected to get worse.
Despite the decline in cases, deaths and hospitalizations are expected to rise for six more weeks, said retired National Guard Major General James Hoyer, who leads the state’s coronavirus task force.
According to health data, the number of virus deaths so far this month is 340, which is more than the deaths reported in June, July and August. People hospitalized for the virus hit a record 957 on Sunday, including 292 in intensive care units.
Justice said the state’s latest efforts will provide hospitals with support and funding of staff and long-term care facilities to maintain workforce levels, including financial assistance to hospitals forced to postpone elective procedures.
“If they have to start eliminating elective surgery, and we do nothing, it will really destroy the economics of our hospitals,” Justice said.
The State Hospital Association welcomed the proposal.
Association President and CEO Jim said, “Ultimately, the funding will help support our health care workers who have been on the care front for more than 19 months and maintain the long-term sustainability of our health care system to care for all patients. Will help keep it.” Kaufman said in a statement.
West Virginia has the highest ever seven-day average, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The number of virus cases in the country is 716 per 100,000 population.
Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at hub/coronavirus-pandemic.