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West Virginia sees fewer active COVID cases, more hospitalizations

CHARLESTON — Active cases of the coronavirus slightly decreased from Wednesday in West Virginia, where the omicron mutation is now the predominant strain, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

The department reported 15,687 active COVID-19 cases Thursday around the state, a drop from the 15,906 reported on Wednesday.

Active cases may be nearing their plateau; however, hospitalizations and deaths may continue to rise for several weeks after, according to Dr. Clay Marsh, who leads the coronavirus efforts in West Virginia. The omicron mutation of the virus has become the predominant strain infecting residents, he said during Gov. Jim Justice’s COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

Active cases totaled 663 Thursday in Wood County, where there were 796 active cases logged on Wednesday.

Cases in other Mid-Ohio Valley counties on Thursday (Wednesday) were: Calhoun, 36 (40); Doddridge, 36 (36); Gilmer, 37 (47); Jackson, 79 (77); Pleasants, 57 (56); Ritchie, 52 (71); Roane, 117 (126 ); Tyler, 89 (83); Wetzel, 128 (124); Wirt, 54 (50).

Hospitalizations of COVID-related patients increased by 37 from Wednesday to Thursday, from 915 Wednesday to 952 on Thursday. Unvaccinated patients were about 71 percent, or 675 patients.

Patients in an intensive care unit totaled 216 on Thursday, up one from Wednesday. Nearly 83 percent of those in an ICU are unvaccinated.

The state reported 131 residents are on a ventilator, up from 125 on Wednesday. About 88 percent, or 115 people, on ventilators are unvaccinated.

Twelve patients are pediatric admissions. One pediatric patient is in an ICU.

The most patients in the hospital with COVID complications was 1,012 on Sept. 24 when there were 296 people in an ICU and 195 on ventilators.

At WVU Medicine Camden Clark on Thursday, 26 of the 66 COVID patients in the hospital have been vaccinated. The hospital reported 60 COVID patients on Wednesday.

One of the nine patients in ICU has been vaccinated and one of the nine patients on a ventilator has been vaccinated.

Fourteen more deaths have been confirmed from Wednesday to Thursday. The death count since the pandemic started is 5,590.

The confirmations include three women from Wood County, ages 78, 86 and 73. The death count in Wood County is 291 people.

Also confirmed were deaths in Raleigh, Braxton, Mason, Marshall, Raleigh, Grant, Mineral and Putnam counties.

The youngest was a 47-year-old man from Raleigh County.

“It is critical that we increase our vaccination rate for all eligible West Virginians, particularly children and teens,” DHHR Secretary Bill J. Crouch said. “If you are hesitant, please reach out to your child’s physician to learn more about COVID-19.”

According to the County Alert System map based on infection rates, Wood, Wirt, Wetzel, Tyler, Pleasants and Roane are in the red level, the highest level of alert.

Ritchie and Calhoun are orange, second highest. Doddridge and Gilmer are gold, mid-level. Jackson is yellow, second lowest.

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