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West Virginia officials report two more COVID deaths

CHARLESTON — Two confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus were reported on Thursday by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

The state reported the deaths of a 93-year-old woman from Harrison County and a 61-year-old man from Randolph County. The death toll from the virus in West Virginia was at 2,848 as of Thursday.

Active cases as of Thursday were at 3,229, dropping from 3,346 from Wednesday morning, the state said. The state reported 119 new cases in the period between Wednesday and Thursday with a percent positivity rate of 2.26 percent.

Active cases in local counties (previous day) are: Calhoun, 6 (4); Doddridge, 22 (21); Gilmer, 4 (4); Jackson, 31 (37); Pleasants, 11 (12); Ritchie, 7 (10); Roane, 6 (7); Tyler, 23 (28) Wetzel, 40 (45); Wirt, 5 (6); Wood, 48 (47.)

Nearly all counties in the area are at the lowest level of green in the County Alert System map, based on infection rate and positivity, except Doddridge County, which remained yellow, second lowest.

No counties in the state are red, the worst category.

The state reported 133 people were in a hospital with 54 in an intensive care unit and 18 on a ventilator.

The state reported 60.1 percent of residents 12 and older have received at least one shot of the vaccine. Gov. Jim Justice on Thursday said it was a milestone toward 65 percent of the eligible population with one shot and lifting the mask mandate on June 20.

Stopping infections, hospitalizations and deaths is the ultimate goal, he said.

“You can stop it, but you got to get vaccinated,” he said. “I don’t care how hard-headed you are.”

Research is showing a new strain of the virus, the Delta variant, is becoming the predominant strain in unvaccinated people in Europe and elsewhere, said Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus leader.

It’s a matter of time before the strain reaches the states, making this time to get vaccinated important, he said.

“We can’t drop our guard.” Marsh said.

The vaccination information line is 1-833-734-0965 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Residents who have at least one shot can register for the “Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change a Life” vaccination sweepstakes at doitforbabydog.wv.gov. Babydog is Justice’s pet English bulldog and the face of the sweepstakes that features million-dollar pots, trucks, rifles and shotguns and other prizes.

“Babydog has gotten more popular than me,” he said.

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