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COVID Deaths Mounting in West Virginia, Even as Cases Decline

Photo Courtesy of W.Va. Governor’s Office Gov. Jim Justice discusses West Virginia’s latest COVID-19 numbers during his Wednesday briefing.

While the overall number of COVID-19 cases is decreasing in West Virginia, deaths in the state continue to mount.

Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday announced the deaths of 85 additional West Virginians from COVID between Monday and Wednesday, bringing the total lives lost in the state from the virus to 4,219.

“We should be very respectful of others and loving neighbors, but at the same time more and more of us ought to go get vaccinated,” Justice said during a virtual news briefing with state reporters. “We need to learn more about it, and ease our fears the best that we can.

“Without any question, one thing is for certain. The more of us that are vaccinated, the less that will die.”

Justice reported numbers compiled by the State Department of Health and Human Resources showing 714 hospitalized in West Virginia due to COVID, with 211 patients in intensive care units and another 128 on ventilators.

Four counties in West Virginia now are listed as green on the DHHR color map, indicating the fewest number of COVID cases there. The counties are Monongalia, Tucker, Gilmer and Summers.

All counties in the Northern Panhandle except Tyler County are listed as orange, the next highest ranking behind red. Tyler County is listed one notch below as gold.

Justice encouraged anyone feeling ill to be tested for COVID.

“I was feeling a little rough on Monday, got tested, and tested negative,” he said. “I think you should take advantage of the free testing.

“The antibodies are waiting for you if you next positive. They can probably save your life.”

Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s COVID czar, supported Justice’s push for COVID vaccinations.

“We know the death numbers are really mounting up not only in West Virginia, but also in our country and our world,” Marsh said. “We’ve lost more than 4,200 great West Virginians, more than 700,000 Americans, and almost 5 million world citizens to COVID 19.”

He said of the 4,219 COVID deaths in West Virginia, just 225 were breakthrough cases where the patient had been fully vaccinated for the virus.

“This really does reinforce the benefit of having full vaccination,” Marsh said. “We know that other countries who have made headway against COVID have been fully vaccinated and boosted.”

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