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Positive tests still up statewide

CHARLESTON — The number of infections caused by the novel coronavirus continues its upward climb in West Virginia, but some indicators show the virus might be slowing down.

Gov. Jim Justice and state officials gave a COVID-19 briefing Monday at the State Capitol Building.

“This is a terrible killer and a terrible pandemic we’re dealing with, but we’re fighting it every way we can,” Justice said. “Some way somehow you and all of us will get through this.”

According to data from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the number of positive cases in West Virginia over the last 14 days between Sept. 7 and Sept. 20 was 2,578, which was a 10-percent increase in positive cases from the previous 14 days. As of Monday — the most recent data available — the state reported 102 new cases.

Active COVID-19 cases, meaning the number of infected people in self-quarantine or hospitalized, was 3,544 as of Monday – an 11 percent increase from 3,184 active cases seven days ago and a 29 percent increase from 2,747 active cases 14 days ago. Active cases have increased in 39 out of 55 counties, while cases in 12 counties have decreased and two counties have seen no changes in case numbers. Only two counties have no positive coronavirus cases.

On the County Alert System map maintained by DHHR, only Putnam and Mingo counties are in the red, meaning they have more than 25 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Monongalia, Kanawha, Fayette, Boone, and Logan counties are orange, meaning they have between 15 and 24.9 cases per 100,000 people. Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln, Wyoming, Summers, Nicholas, and Pocahontas counties are gold, meaning they have between 10 and 14.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Counties in the gold, orange, and red counties face further social distancing restrictions, including limiting outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people. The colors also determine whether nursing homes are forced to limit visitations and group activities in long-term care facilities.

The total numbers of test results over the last 14 days was 60,391, which was a 4 percent decrease in testing compared testing conducted between Aug. 24 through Sept. 6. Last Friday, Justice announced several testing opportunities in counties listed as gold, orange, or red in the County Alert System. The colors denote the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people based on seven-day and 14-day rolling averages depending on the population size of the county.

“The one thing we’ve got to do to be able to do something about is we’ve got to know where the problems are,” Justice said. “You’ll never get out of any hole unless you know how deep in the hole you are and unless you know where you’re at.”

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