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WVU Medicine officials looking at options as coronavirus cases rise

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia health officials remained concerned about the rise of active coronavirus cases, with WVU Medicine officials considering contingency plans for a possible surge.

“We’re taking a watch and see approach,” President and CEO Albert Wright said Tuesday. “I have read that more folks are getting the vaccine around the country, and that’s our best defense at this point.”

Albert Wright (WVU Medicine)

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has confirmed 178 hospitalizations related to the coronavirus as of Tuesday; the agency reported 57 coronavirus hospitalizations a month ago. Sixty-four West Virginians are receiving care in intensive care units with 25 people on ventilators.

Health officials on Tuesday also reported 2,585 active cases with a daily positive test rate of 7.26%.

Health care professionals have followed lengthy schedules at medical facilities amid the pandemic, which has also included managing personal protective equipment.

“Last December and January were probably the hardest time in my career, and for those on the frontline, it was definitely the hardest time in their career,” Wright said. “They don’t want to see us go through that again.”

Wright noted the pandemic has also made it difficult for the hospital system to retain nurses and other health care workers.

Gov. Jim Justice and state officials have encouraged unvaccinated West Virginians to get vaccination doses, but Justice has also stated he opposes reinstating the statewide mask mandate.

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