West Virginia surpasses 7,000 COVID deaths

West Virginia surpasses 7,000 COVID deaths

CHARLESTON, WV (STL.News) Governor Jim Justice and members of the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team held another news briefing today to update the public on the state’s latest pandemic response and vaccine distribution efforts.

During his briefing Monday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has now surpassed 7,000 COVID-19-related deaths.

“This is a milestone that none of us wanted to hit,” Gov. Justice said.  “It’s just hard to fathom.  You think of all the tough things we’ve seen on the news over the years, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to this.

“Over 7,000 great West Virginians we’ve lost.  I ask for your prayers for every single one of them.”

Despite the tragic milestone, case numbers have continued their slow decline in recent weeks, dropping to 1,989 on Monday, marking their first day under 2,000 since May 17.  Cases have declined by 283 since the Governor’s previous briefing on Wednesday last week.

State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad announced that certain elements of the COVID-19 Dashboard are being updated to improve accuracy, including the vaccine dose distribution table and data on variant cases.

“You’ll see some updated numbers on our COVID dashboard with the variant cases as we continue to monitor and improve our data,” Dr. Amjad said.  “The number of Delta variant cases are going to decrease by 634.  The number of Omicron variant cases are going to decrease by 364.  These are still COVID cases, however, they’re not associated with Delta and Omicron.  When the algorithm from matching variant labs to cases was developed, we did not see a significant amount of reinfections among our population.  So those numbers matched older labs with the new cases.  This has since been corrected, and we’ll continue to monitor those numbers.”

Primary series vaccinations and a first booster dose are now encouraged for all West Virginians ages 5 and older.

A second booster dose is encouraged for all West Virginians ages 50 and older who are at least four months removed from their first booster dose, as well as certain immunocompromised individuals.  All West Virginians who qualify can get a second booster dose everywhere vaccines are available.