WVU Medicine reports multiple COVID deaths from weekend

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU Medicine officials say 17 people died at Ruby Memorial Hospital from coronavirus-related complications over the weekend.

Alison Wilson, executive chair of the WVU Critical Care and Trauma Institute, said 15 deaths were West Virginians, one from Ohio and another from Maryland.

“Many of these deaths were non-vaccinated, only one patient was a vaccinated patient,” Wilson said on MetroNews “Talkline” Monday. “We certainly know that vaccinations help protect against severe disease and mortality.”

The Delta variant began a trend that showed younger people becoming infected with the virus- that has continued as the average age of those infected has steadily decreased during this surge.

“The substantial number of them being in their 40’s and the youngest being 21-years-old,” Wilson said. “Most of these patients, the younger patients, tend to have a longer course of the disease.”

The vaccine is proven to help lessen the severity of infection, reduce hospitalizations and drop the mortality rate.

“Some of our older patients are more frail and despite even intensive care they just don’t have the reserves secondary to some of their other health issues to battle this off,” Wilson said.

Many of the unvaccinated who get the Delta variant have very severe outcomes that sometimes require extended care after release from the hospital. According to Wilson, the data shows getting the vaccine is the best way to avoid serious medical issues if infected.

“Your chance of having significant course or even long term complications, such as long term lung problems and breathing problems requiring oxygen or inhaler is certainly possible,” Wilson said.

The mounting toll on families and healthcare workers continues. Workers try to help families work through grief and loss while continuing to provide care.

“It’s become a real tragic scene to see young families bringing teenage and younger children into the hospital to say goodbye to their mother or father,” Wilson said.

Statewide data from the DHHR says 746 people are hospitalized, 221 are in the ICU and 151 people are on ventilators. The numbers show well over 80 percent of people in the ICU or on ventilators are unvaccinated.

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