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Active COVID cases continue rise in West Virginia

CHARLESTON — Active COVID-19 cases are skirting the edge of 2,000 in West Virginia, according to Monday’s update from the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

There were 1,964 active cases in West Virginia Monday, compared to 1,658 Friday. State coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said during Monday’s online briefing by Gov. Jim Justice that number is likely under-reported as more people forego testing or test at home without notifying health officials of the results.

“We do see another surge that is happening, both in the United States and also in West Virginia,” he said, attributing the rise to further mutations in the virus’ omicron variant.

“These mutations allow the virus to escape our immune system more easily,” Marsh said.

That means getting vaccinated and staying up to date with boosters is important to reducing the chance to contract the virus or suffer serious consequences if infected, he said.

Marsh directed viewers to the state’s online COVID-19 Vaccination Due Date Calculator at dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/Vaccine.aspx.

Active cases in local counties Monday (Friday) were: Calhoun, 3 (3); Doddridge, 7 (5); Gilmer, 2 (3); Jackson, 12 (10); Pleasants, 2 (1); Ritchie, 12 (3); Roane, 9 (3); Tyler, 11 (6); Wetzel, 5 (3); Wirt, 3 (1); Wood, 30 (37).

COVID hospitalizations rose from 129 Friday to 138 Monday, with 50.7 percent of those individuals considered vaccinated, although that label does not take boosters into account. There were 19 people in intensive care units with COVID, and 12 of them were vaccinated, compared to 24 and 13 on Friday.

The DHHR reported nine patients on ventilators (11 on Friday), six of them unvaccinated (the same as Friday).

A pair of deaths were attributed to the virus Monday, two different 75-year-old women from Berkeley County.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for the families and friends of these West Virginians,” DHHR Secretary Bill J. Crouch said. “We offer our sympathies to each and every person connected to these individuals.”

Twenty-six of the state’s 55 counties were yellow on the County Alert System Map Monday. That’s the second-lowest rate of spread based on the number of new cases per 100,000 people or percentage of positive tests, whichever is lower. In the Mid-Ohio Valley, Doddridge, Ritchie and Tyler counties are yellow.

The rest of the state remains green, the lowest level.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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