W.Va. COVID-19 statistics continue upward climb

Photo Courtesy/WV Governor’s Office Gov. Jim Justice looks over COVID-19 numbers while wearing a face mask prior to his Friday briefing.

CHARLESTON — COVID-19 cases in West Virginia continued a slow and steady rise Friday as state officials doubled down on pleas for residents to take the virus seriously.

According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, there are 6,135 active COVID-19 cases in the state, an 18.5 percent increase from last week. There have been 27,087 coronavirus cases in West Virginia since the first reported case March 17.

In the last 24 hours, the state received 540 new COVID-19 cases with 9,860 new lab tests, resulting in a 4.48 percent daily positivity rate. The number of cases and tests to date resulted in the state’s cumulative positivity rate increasing to 3.01 percent.

That is the highest the cumulative positivity rate has been since 3.54 percent on April 24, days prior to Justice easing restrictions put in place on non-essential businesses and the stay-at-home order for state residents. At that time, Justice said if the cumulative positivity rate went above 3 percent, another shutdown would be possible.

Justice said all options were on the table Friday to control further spread of the virus, but with improvements in treatments, he didn’t see a need to roll out new shutdowns or restrictions.

“We have told everyone we will absolutely keep everything on the table as far as potential shutdowns or whatever it may be,” Justice said. “Any and everything we will do, and we will do it upon the guidance of the health community and the health experts, as well as the education community about schools and absolutely we will stay on top of this with all in us to the very best of our ability.”

The state’s Rt rate, the rate that shows how quickly the virus is spreading in the community, was 1.11 and was the 34th highest rate in the nation. Three counties are in the red on the daily DHHR County Alert System color-coded map: Mingo, Mineral and Marshall. Marshall County’s infection rate is 72.99 cases per 100,000 people, based on a seven-day rolling average.

Nineteen outbreaks with 93 cases are in public schools, 59 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, 17 outbreaks in 12 counties linked to churches, and two positive inmate cases in the state correctional system with 34 staff cases.

The percent of West Virginia’s 1.8 million population with COVID-19 is only 1.5 percent. The state has tested 45 percent of the state’s population, with 2.97 percent of tests coming back positive for the coronavirus.

The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 jumped to 487 as of Friday, with 36 deaths reported over the last seven days and seven deaths reported Friday morning.

“These people have given a lot,” Justice said. “We can’t let them be a number.”

West Virginia’s case fatality rate remains low compared to surrounding states and the national average. The state fatality rate was 1.8 percent, with the U.S average at 2.4. Out of West Virginia’s surrounding states, only Kentucky had a lower case fatality rate with 1.4 percent.

The average age of people dying from COVID-19 in West Virginia is 77, and people between the ages of 70 and 89 account for 78-percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state. People between the ages of 20 and 39 account for 1 percent of total COVID-19 deaths with no deaths reported for children.

“Absolutely this disease nails our elderly, and we’ve got to protect them, that’s all there is to it,” Justice said.


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