Hoyer, health leaders warn of increased COVID-19 hospitalization numbers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — COVID-related hospitalizations in West Virginia are at their highest totals in more than a month this week which has caused health leaders around the state to warn the public.

During Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing with Gov. Jim Justice, State InterAgency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer said there’s been a significant increase in COVID-related hospitalizations in recent days.

“We hit 95 new admissions (today),” Hoyer said. “That’s up from 75 yesterday and it’s up from 45 on the 19th of December.”

The state’s COVID-19 dashboard lists total hospitalizations at 635 with 194 patients in ICU and 101 patients being treated with ventilators. Similar hospitalization numbers were last seen Oct. 25 with 647.

In the Eastern Panhandle, WVU Medicine Berkeley and Jefferson Medical Centers is cautioning the public that their Urgent Care Centers in Charles Town, Inwood and Spring Mills are experiencing high patient volumes. In a social media post Monday, the hospital system asked that folks please be patient as their urgent care staff members work diligently to see patients as quickly as possible.

Similarly, an announcement from the system says the emergency departments at Berkeley Medical Center and Jefferson Medical Center are experiencing high patient volumes as well.

Dr. Terrence Reidy, the Jefferson County Health Officer appeared on Tuesday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ and spoke on what emergency rooms and urgent care centers are taking on. He reported Jefferson County is reporting 80 new virus cases a day.

“They have been overwhelmed in the eastern panhandle for a few months or so because we’ve had a steady surge. Now it has more than doubled what it was a couple of weeks ago,” he said.

Reidy reminded the public of COVID-19 testing happening six days a week in the county, four at the Charles Town Races drive-thru clinic and two days in Shepherdstown.

There is a drive-thru vaccination and testing COVID-19 clinic in Kanawha County on Wednesday at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department from Noon to 5 p.m.

In Kanawha County, Charleston Area Medical Center is urged citizens to get vaccinated in a statement.

“CAMC, like hospitals throughout West Virginia and the country, is under siege by COVID-19,” a statement said. “After fighting this battle for nearly two years, we’re exhausted and we’re worried. Too many people still are unvaccinated, and that choice is costing lives every day and putting unimaginable strain on our health care system.

“Our emergency rooms are full. Our hospitals are full,” the statement continued. “There are people waiting to get into our hospitals, and hospitals all around us, and we have had to postpone non-urgent procedures so that we may care for patients with COVID-19.”

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