During his Friday, Oct. 15 coronavirus response media briefing, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice reported that active cases of COVID-19 have decreased by nearly 66% statewide in the last 30 days. However, despite this seemingly positive trend, West Virginia has now surpassed 4,000 total COVID-19-related deaths since the onset of the pandemic; 60 of which were reported this past week alone.
West Virginia has now seen more than a quarter-million cases since March of last year, with just over 10,000 currently active at the time of this writing. And in spite of the fact that nearly half of all active cases have been confirmed to be the far more contagious Delta variant of the virus, minimal progress has been made with regard to vaccinating more of the state’s residents. As of Sunday, Oct. 17, the state’s percentage of vaccinated West Virginians remains at a stagnant 55%.
“We’ve got to find some way to stop this, and right now the only bullet in the gun is our vaccinations,” Justice said on Friday. “We will not infringe upon your freedoms. But, at the same time, you’ve got to realize that we’ve got to someway stop this because reading 110 great West Virginians that we’ve lost is just terrible. It’s really sad.”
Though a staunch supporter of COVID-19 vaccinations, Justice’s comments alluded to his introduction of proposed legislation requiring certain exemptions from workplace vaccine mandates. (More on this in Autumn Shelton’s WVDN article “State Moves Closer To Passing Vaccine Mandate Ban”.)
According to the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources, over the past seven-days, Greenbrier County is administering, on average, a mere 12 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per day. In Pocahontas County, that number is five, while Monroe County is averaging seven doses per day. Summers County is only averaging three doses per day, and the Raleigh County average is 19.
In what may come as a shock to some, of all the demographics in West Virginia, the age group currently at the highest risk for contracting COVID-19 are those between the ages of 31 and 50-years. That particular group accounts for 28.64% of the state’s active cases.
At present, 785 West Virginians are hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 227 are receiving treatment in the state’s various intensive care units, while 163 people are being kept alive through the use of ventilators.