The number of Covid-19 cases across the country is rising, and they are going up in West Virginia as well.
Nationally, the seven-day rolling average is over 100,000 new cases a day. That is pushing hospitalizations higher. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals reached nearly 62,000 Tuesday, passing the previous high from April.
Hospitalizations in West Virginia are rising as well, but so far the state’s medical centers have been able to handle the additional capacity. The number of Covid-19 patients reached a new high of 290 on November 8, but that number had dropped to 277 in yesterday’s report.
However, higher hospitalizations may be ahead because of a surge in cases. West Virginia’s DHHR reported 1,797 new cases in the three-day period that ended at midnight Tuesday. That is the biggest three-day surge since the state started reporting the data in April.
At least 553 West Virginians have died from Covid-19.
The daily percent positive infection rate has shot up from barely over four percent to nearly six percent just over those three days. West Virginia Covid-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said increased testing does mean more documented cases, but the infection rate tells a more accurate story.
“It’s not just a proportional more tests and more positive cases,” Marsh said during Wednesday’s briefing. “There’s actually more disease in West Virginia.”
Governor Justice, along with Dr. Marsh and local health officials, have stressed for months the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, and Justice now sounds exasperated.
“I don’t know what else I can do,” he said during yesterday’s briefing. “I have given it everything I have. I don’t know what else I can do.”
West Virginia is not alone. Neighboring states are facing even higher increases in cases.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has renewed restrictions on indoor dining, indoor gatherings, and out-of-state travel, while moving state employees to teleworking. “Today, I am reporting that we have crossed over into the danger zone,” he said Tuesday.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has called the increase in case numbers in his state “alarming.” “Everyone must take this pandemic seriously,” he tweeted. “It’s up to all of us to stop this spread.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear called on residents to redouble their safety efforts. “This thing is spreading,” he said. “It is spreading really fast, and we need your help.” He urged Kentuckians to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small with immediate family only.
What are we to do? The same things we have been doing from the very beginning—follow the safety guidelines. Just this week the Centers for Disease Control published a scientific brief once again stressing the importance of face coverings.
“Experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2,” the report said.
So mask up, and buckle down because we still have a ways to go before we are out of this mess.