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West Virginia’s COVID-19 Outlook Keeps Brightening

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

West Virginia’s outlook on the Department of Health and Human Resources COVID-19 alert map continued to look good Wednesday. None of the state’s 55 counties were in the map’s highest-risk category and less than a fifth were in the second-highest-risk category.

There were no red counties on Wednesday’s map and just 10 counties in orange. The rest of the state was in the map’s three best categories. Thirteen counties were gold, 22 were yellow and 18 counties were green.

The Northern Panhandle’s four counties were among those counties in the safer categories. Hancock County was green on Wednesday’s map, while Ohio County was yellow and Brooke and Marshall counties were gold.

The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department announced seven new positive cases in its Wednesday night report. That brought the county’s totals to 3,709 cases and 65 related deaths since the pandemic began. The Marshall County Health Department announced three positive cases and four probable cases, bringing that county’s totals to 2,308 confirmed cases, 620 probable cases, six hospitalizations and 62 associated deaths.

Wheeling Hospital announced Wednesday that it was further relaxing visitation restrictions. Hours have been increased and visitors arel now allowed in the cafeteria and gift shop. The Tower 1 entrance and exit will reopen from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday to accommodate those with scheduled physician and outpatient appointments.

Visitation hours are now 10 a.m.-6 p.m. to ICU, CVSD, IMU, Oncology, floors 4 and 5 in the main hospital, and floor 4 of Tower 5. Only one visitor per patient per day is permitted, but they are not required to remain in the patient’s room during the entire visit. There is no visitation to floors 2 and 5 of Tower 5. Other visits will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Guidelines for visitation for Labor and Delivery and Pediatrics remain the same: one visitor per patient per day in Labor and Delivery and two visitors per patient per day in Pediatrics to allow both mothers and fathers to visit.

Visitors must enter and exit through the main entrance. They will be screened and required to wear masks. Social distancing must be observed.

In Ohio, the Belmont County Health Department reported 5,199 cases in the county since the start of the pandemic, with 59 hospitalizations and 93 deaths associated with the virus.

Vaccinations were distributed to Belmont County residents Wednesday at the former Sears location at the Ohio Valley Mall. Belmont County Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Sproul said the county administered 400 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday morning and 350 first doses of the Moderna vaccine Wednesday afternoon.

Sproul said the department hopes to spend another three weeks holding vaccination clinics at the mall.

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