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COVID-19 cases continue to drop in West Virginia

CHARLESTON — Nearly every county in West Virginia is seeing declining active cases of COVID-19 as deaths and hospitalizations continue to drop and more West Virginians get vaccinated.

According to data from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the number of positive cases over a 14-day period between Feb. 1 and Feb. 14 was 6,547, which was a 39-percent decrease compared to 10,772 cases between Jan. 18. through Jan. 31.

As of Monday, the most recent data available, the state reported 301 new cases received in a 24-hour period compared to Sunday’s data. The state averaged 397 cases per day over a seven-day period, down from 535 cases the previous seven days.

The total number of tests over the same 14-day period was 139,642, a 16-percent decrease in testing compared to 165,559 tests over the same 14-day period. Over the last seven days, the state conducted an average of 9,480 tests per day, down from 10,454 tests per day the previous week.

Active COVID-19 cases, the number of infected people in self-quarantine or hospitalized was 11,683 cases as of Monday, a 25-percent decrease from 15,557 active cases seven days ago and a 60-percent decrease from a peak of 29,257 active cases on Jan. 10. All 55 counties have active cases for the 17th week in a row. Active cases have decreased in every county in the state over the last seven days except Pleasants County, which increased from 26 to 27 active cases.

Despite a decrease in test numbers, state officials have attributed the drops in cases to West Virginia’s successful vaccination program for COVID-19. As of Monday, 140,540 residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning they received both shots of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, nearly 8 percent of the state’s population and 10 percent more than the total number of West Virginians infected with COVID-19 since March 17, 2020.

Much of the vaccine focus is on West Virginians age 65 and older, with more than 196,000 residents in that age range being vaccinated with at least one of the two-shot vaccines. The state has focused on older residents through Operation: Save Our Wisdom. West Virginians age 60 and older account for 80 percent of the state’s total COVID-19 deaths.

The state reported 2,212 total COVID-19 deaths as of Monday. There were 186 deaths reported between Feb. 1 and Feb. 14, a 25-percent decrease from the 248 deaths reported the previous 14 days. Over a seven-day period, the state saw an average of 12 deaths per day, down from 15 deaths per day last week and 18 deaths per day the week before that.

There were 319 hospitalizations as of Monday, down from 375 hospitalizations the previous week, a 15-percent decrease. The average number of hospitalizations between Feb. 1 and Feb. 14 decreased by 34 percent over the average number of hospitalizations the previous 14 days. The number of infected people in intensive care units was 80 – down from 107 last week and 46 people are on ventilators down from 52 last week.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the percent of inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients was 8 percent as of Feb. 10, down from 9 percent on Feb. 1. Out of an estimated 782 ICU beds in the state, 587 beds, or 75 percent of the state’s ICU capacity, continue to be used.

There were no red counties on DHHR’s County Alert System map Monday. Counties listed as red either have higher infection rates or high percent of positivity, meaning high schools in those counties would have to go to remote learning. Pre-K, elementary, and middle schools can open for in-person learning regardless of map color or switch of a blended/hybrid model.

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