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Active COVID cases, hospitalizations rise in West Virginia

PARKERSBURG — Active coronavirus cases totaled 14,817 in West Virginia Thursday while the state reported more than 5,400 new cases received since the last pandemic update on Wednesday, according to the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Thursday’s active cases were 1,210 higher than Wednesday when active cases were 13,607.

The state last week changed how active cases were tabulated to conform with the new guidelines from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that cases are considered active for five days instead of the previous 10 days. The new guideline also said those testing positive and are asymptomatic can be released from quarantine after five days instead of 10, but should wear a mask for another five days.

The department reported 5,457 new active cases received in the 24-hour period from Wednesday to Thursday morning.

State health officials say the surge in cases is being fueled by unvaccinated and unboosted residents and the next surge will likely be the omicron variant of the virus. The omicron strain is more infectious than delta, which is more infectious than the original strain.

Active cases in Wood County increased by 38% from Wednesday to Thursday, from 603 to 641. A 60% increase was reported in Wirt County, from 20 on Wednesday to 32 on Thursday, and in Roane County, from 60 on Wednesday to 96 on Thursday. The increase in Tyler County was 38%, from 39 on Wednesday to 54 on Thursday. A 31.5% increase was recorded in Jackson County, from 73 on Wednesday to 96 on Thursday.

Active cases increased 50% in Gilmer County, from 18 on Wednesday to 27 on Thursday. A 36.3% increase was posted in Calhoun County, from 33 on Wednesday to 45 on Thursday.

Active cases in other local counties on Thursday (Wednesday): Doddridge, 22 (22); Pleasants, 46 (44); Ritchie, 34 (36); Wetzel, 125 (120).

Twenty-two more deaths were confirmed from the virus between Wednesday and Thursday, raising the death count since the pandemic began to 5,503 residents. The youngest was a 30-year-old man from Harrison County.

Among the deaths were a 74-year-old man from Jackson County, a 62-year-old man from Wood County and an 84-year-old male from Wetzel County and a 74-year-old woman from Tyler County.

Deaths also were confirmed in Raleigh, Lewis, Marshall, Marion, Fayette, Randolph, Monongalia, Wyoming and Ohio counties.

Deaths also were included in Thursday’s total from the Bureau for Public Health’s data reconciliation with the official death certificate from December to January. Among the deaths were residents in Clay, Kanawha, Gilmer and Mercer counties.

“As we solemnly observe this tragic loss of life, we must continue to fight this virus,” department Secretary Bill J. Crouch said. “It is our duty to protect our fellow West Virginians and this can be achieved through vaccination.”

Most of the deaths occurring after vaccinations began in December 2020 were unvaccinated residents. The state reported 4,404 deaths since vaccinations began, of which 10.67 percent are breakthrough deaths, residents who have been vaccinated, but developed COVID-19.

Hospitalizations of COVID-related patients were 861 on Thursday, an increase of 18 from 843 on Wednesday. Of the hospitalizations, 625 people are unvaccinated.

Intensive care unit admissions were at 217 on Thursday, 185 of those unvaccinated. The state reported 135 patients on ventilators, 124 of those unvaccinated.

The pediatric census remained at 17 with three in ICUs.

Fifty-one COVID patients were lodged at WVU Medicine Camden Clark, of which 20 are vaccinated. Of the eight patients in ICU, two are vaccinated. Seven patients are on a ventilator, one is vaccinated.

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