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West Virginia’s COVID numbers at lowest since November

CHARLESTON — West Virginia continues to see drops on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to a succussful vaccination effort.

According to data from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the number of positive cases over a 14-day period between Feb. 8 and Feb. 21 was 4,751, which was a 48 percent decrease compared to 9,046 cases between Jan. 25. through Feb. 7.

As of Monday — the most recent data available — the state reported 238 new cases received in a 24-hour period compared to Sunday’s data. The state averaged 282 cases per day over a seven-day period, down from 397 cases the previous seven days.

Active COVID-19 cases — the number of infected people in self-quarantine or hospitalized — was 8,795 cases as of Monday — a 25 percent decrease from 11,683 active cases seven days ago and a 70 percent decrease from a peak of 29,257 active cases on Jan. 10.

All 55 counties have active cases for the 18th week in a row. Active cases have decreased in 49 counties over the last seven days, while cases increased slightly in Barbour, Calhoun, Webster, and Wirt counties and cases in Pocahontas and Summers counties remained the same.

There were no red counties on DHHR’s County Alert System map Monday for the second week in a row. Counties listed as red either have higher infection rates or high percent of positivity, meaning high schools in those counties would have to go to remote learning.

Pre-K, elementary, and middle schools can open for in-person learning regardless of map color or switch to a blended/hybrid model, though the West Virginia Board of Education is set to vote today to require five-day in-person learning for K-8 students with no blended or hybrid models.

West Virginia has fully vaccinated more than 9 percent of the state’s 1.79 million residents against COVID-19 since the first doses arrived last December. The state receives weekly shipments of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, with a new vaccine from Johnson and Johnson expected to receive emergency authorization from a FDA board by the end of the week.

West Virginia has focused on residents age 65 and older, with 43.2 seniors per 1,000 people vaccinated. The state’s death toll from COVID-19 has mostly been in the age 60 and older population. The focus on seniors has sent the state’s hospitalizations and deaths plummeting.

The state reported 2,263 total COVID-19 deaths as of Monday — the fifth week in a row for decreases in deaths. There were 132 deaths reported between Feb. 8 and Feb. 21 — a 44 percent decrease from the 234 deaths reported the previous 14 days. Over a seven-day period, the state saw an average of seven deaths per day.

There were 294 hospitalizations as of Monday, down from 319 hospitalizations the previous week — an 8 percent decrease. The average number of hospitalizations between Feb. 8 and Feb. 21 decreased by 29 percent over the average number of hospitalizations the previous 14 days. The number of infected people in intensive care units was 80 for the second week in a row, and 33 people are on ventilators — down from 46 last week.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the percent of inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients was 6 percent as of Feb. 19, down from 8 percent on Feb. 10. Out of an estimated 782 ICU beds in the state, 547 beds — or 70 percent of the state’s ICU capacity — continues to be used. That’s down from 75 percent on Feb. 10.

But while active cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are down, so is COVID-19 testing. The total numbers of tests between Feb. 8 and Feb. 21 was 120,103 — a 24 percent decrease in testing compared to 157,359 tests over the previous 14-day period. Over the last seven days, the state conducted an average of 7,669 tests per day, down from 9,480 tests per day the previous week.

Steven Allen Adams can be reached at sadams@newsandsentinel.com

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