Apr 29, 2022
Photo courtesy of the West Virginia’s Governor’s Office Gov. Jim Justice and state health officials gave their second virtual briefing of the week Thursday morning at the State Capitol Building.
CHARLESTON — As hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in West Virginia remain down as active case numbers creep up, Gov. Jim Justice and state coronavirus response officials remain cautiously optimistic while also monitoring new variants.
Justice and state health officials gave their second virtual briefing of the week Thursday morning at the State Capitol Building. While active cases are up slightly from dropping to a low of 263 on April 4 to 799 active cases as of Thursday, the numbers don’t have state officials concerned yet.
“I think the news is still overall good,” Dr. Clay Marsh said. “We know that, however, we’re seeing a small uptick in the number of cases. We have seen a very small uptick in the number of hospitalizations. And as the Governor reads every day … we have lost more West Virginians with COVID-19.”
According to the American Red Cross, approximately 34 percent of Americans age 60 or older tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in December 2021 when the omicron variant of COVID-19 first started spreading. In an updated last week from the ARC, that number increased to 60 percent for the same age group, and 75 percent of children. The numbers show the extent of the recent omicron BA.1 variant wave and the current BA.2 omicron variant now spreading.
“This really demonstrates the impact of this omicron variant,” Marsh said. “As we move forward, we notice that the number of BA.2 cases are growing in West Virginia. We can anticipate as we see the variants grow, then we will likely see some episodes of increasing in the number of cases. We need to watch hospitalizations and deaths very closely.”
Marsh said the numbers also show the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots in protecting against severe infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, combined with new therapeutic treatments.
“We know that the boosters are so important, and making sure you’re current with your boosters,” Marsh said. “We know the way to reduce and protect yourselves from getting infected, but more importantly severely infected and going to the ICU and dying, is getting vaccinated and being current in your
According to Marsh, 75 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in West Virginia were people older than 50. Nationally, one out of every 125 Americans over age 50 has died from COVID-19.
“Surely to God above, if you’re over 50 and older, that’s got to get your attention,” Justice said. “You do not want to be a statistic … How can you ensure almost 100 percent that you’re not going to end up on that list? You get your booster shot.”
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