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West Virginia conducts more than 1 million COVID-19 tests

CHARLESTON — West Virginia continues to post significant COVID-19 testing numbers, with more than 40,000 test results reported over the weekend and more than 1 million tests since the pandemic first started.

According to data from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the total numbers of test results over a 14-day period between Nov. 9 and Sunday was 179,513, a 50 percent increase in testing compared to 120,019 tests results between Oct. 26. through Nov. 8.

“Really and truly, in the last 24 hours our numbers have gotten a teeny bit better,” said Gov. Jim Justice during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol. “We’re testing and we’re testing aggressively now. That’s good.”

The state broke the 1 million cumulative test mark Friday, with 1,033,510 tests conducted since March 11 when DHHR first started posting test numbers on its dashboard. Between Friday and Sunday, the state received the results for 43,934 tests. Over the last seven days, the state received an average of 12,822 test results per day.

More than 55 percent of the state’s 1.8 million residents have been tested. Of those tests, only 2.2 percent of the state’s population have tested positive for the coronavirus and only 3.4 percent of the 1.03 million test results have come back positive.

The number of positive cases over the same 14-day period was 12,443, which was a 96-percent increase compared to 6,335 cases during the prior 14-day period. As of Monday, the most recent data available, the state reported 636 new cases received in a 24-hour period compared to Sunday’s data. West Virginia’s daily percent of positive cases was 4 percent and the cumulative percent of positive cases continues to increase, sitting at 3.48 percent.

Active COVID-19 cases, the number of infected people in self-quarantine or hospitalized, was 13,678 cases as of Monday, a 32 percent increase from 10,377 active cases seven days ago and a 96 percent increase from 6,974 active cases 14 days ago. All 55 counties have active cases for the fifth week in a row. Active cases have increased in 49 out of 55 counties, up from 48 counties last week.

Justice hasn’t announced any additional restrictions since Nov. 13 when he expanded the indoor mask order to include even areas where social distancing can be maintained. While he has said that all options are on the table, Justice has also said he has no desire to implement shutdowns similar to what the state did in March in April. However, Justice did say Monday he was considering ways to slow the spread of the virus in counties with severe community spread.

“It may very well be the recommendation from our medical staff and medical experts…that we take a pinpoint selection of specific counties, and we may have to look at doing other modifications in a single county in trying to slow this thing down,” Justice said.

The state reported 667 total COVID-19 deaths as of Monday, with nearly a third of all deaths occurring since the beginning of November. There were 160 deaths reported between Nov. 9 and Sunday, a 103 percent increase over the 79 deaths reported the previous 14 days.

“I hate this, I hate it so bad,” Justice said after reading off the list of deaths since Friday’s COVID-19 briefing. “I pray so much that you’ll be with these families and think about them and you’ll send up many prayers for them. At the same time, I pray…really soon we’ll have a vaccine and hope and pray it works, and hope and pray somehow this horrible and terrible killer can come to a halt.”

There were 463 hospitalizations as of Monday, up from 383 hospitalizations the previous week, a 21 percent increase. The average number of hospitalizations between Nov. 9 and Sunday increased by 45 percent over the average number of hospitalizations the previous 14 days. The number of infected people in intensive care units was 136, up from 108 last week, and 60 people are on ventilators, up from 41 people last week.

West Virginia’s Rt number, the rate that shows how quickly the virus is spreading in the community, was 1.09 as of Monday, an improvement from 1.12 last week and the week before. The state’s Rt number was the 23rd best rate in the nation, down from 18th best rate last week. Any Rt value below 1 means the growth of the virus is slowing, while numbers above 1 mean the virus is spreading.

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