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West Virginia coronavirus case numbers, deaths decrease

Photo courtesy of WV Governor’s Office Gov. Jim Justice goes over West Virginia’s COVID19 case numbers Monday.

CHARLESTON — West Virginia is showing signs of slowing the COVID-19 virus after nearly three months of case spikes, with positive cases, deaths, and the rate the virus spreads all trending downward.

“I think we are doing better, but we are cautious about that and very concerned because we know how fluid this situation is and how it can whip around and get us,” said Gov. Jim Justice during a coronavirus briefing at the State Capitol Building on Monday.

According to data from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the number of positive cases over the last 14 days between Sept. 21 and Oct. 4 was 2,521, which was a 4 percent decrease in positive cases from the previous 14 days. As of Monday — the most recent data available — the state reported 114 new cases in a 24-hour period.

The total numbers of test results over the last 14 days was 78,026, which was a 31-percent increase in testing compared to testing conducted between Sept. 7. through Sept. 20. Daily test results have come in north of 6,000 tests per day after weeks of pleas from Justice for residents to get tested.

“We encourage everyone to take advantage of free testing,” Justice said. “It is the very key that gives us the information that we will have that we’ll be able to curtail and stop this dreaded killer.”

Active COVID-19 cases — the number of infected people in self-quarantine or hospitalized — was 4,330 cases as of Monday – a 9-percent increase from 3,987 active cases seven days ago and a 22-percent increase from 3,544 active cases 14 days ago. Active cases have increased in 33 out of 55 counties, while cases in 18 counties have decreased and four counties have seen no changes in case numbers. Only Webster County has no positive coronavirus cases.

The state reported 361 total COVID-19 deaths as of Monday, with three new deaths reported to DHHR on Monday. West Virginia saw a 25-percent decrease in deaths when comparing two 14-day periods. There were 48 deaths reported between Sept. 21 and Oct. 5 and 64 deaths reported between Sept. 7 through Sept. 20. There were six deaths over the weekend.

“The way it’s been going is better, but six additional deaths is way too many,” Justice said. “But it is surely trending in a way that looks like it’s getting better.”

There were 165 hospitalizations as of Monday — a 2-percent decrease from seven days ago. The average number of hospitalizations between Sept. 21 and Oct. 4 increased by 9 percent over the average number of hospitalizations the previous 14 days.

The number of infected people in intensive care units remained was 60 and 28 people are on ventilators.

West Virginia’s Rt number — the rate that shows how quickly the virus is spreading in the community — was 0.88 as of Monday, giving the state the second best Rt rate in the nation. It’s the best Rt number for the state since Aug. 24, when West Virginia had an Rt number of 0.86 and was the fourth best in the nation. That number jumped to 1.32 by Sept. 7 and was the worst Rt number of all 50 states. Any Rt value below 1 means the growth of the virus is slowing.

“This is an amazing improvement,” Justice said. “We’re wanting so much to keep that below 1.0, but 0.86 is very good … we have come from dead, dead last to the second best in the country, so things are getting better.”

West Virginia’s daily percent of positive cases was 1.52 percent — the lowest the daily positivity number since 1.18 percent on Aug. 22. The cumulative percent of positive cases was also on a downward trend, coming in at 2.74 percent after peaking at 2.77 on Sept. 30.

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