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West Virginia gets closer to record number of covid-19 hospitalizations

West Virginia’s covid-19 hospitalizations continue to rise toward all-time highs.

The state reported 980 hospitalizations today. The high number over the course of the covid-19 pandemic was 1,012 on Sept. 24, right as the delta wave peaked.

“We still have not seen the peak of covid-19, the omicron variant, in West Virginia. Our hospital numbers are rising,” Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s top covid-19 adviser, said during a briefing today.

State leaders for weeks have warned about the possibility of overloading hospitals with covid patients, flu patients and people whose care for chronic illness has been delayed during the pandemic.

Of those in the hospital, about 70 percent are unvaccinated, according to state figures. Seventeen of those in the hospital are pediatric patients.

The state has identified 228 covid-19 patients in intensive care units, another rising number. Of those, 82 percent are unvaccinated.

There are 131 covid-19 patients who need the help of a ventilator to breathe. The state calculates 88.5 percent of those patients are unvaccinated.

“You need to get your vaccine,” said Gov. Jim Justice, who volunteered that his daughter, Jill, and her husband are among the current covid patients. Justice was out last week with a case of covid that he said made him feel “extremely unwell.”

State figures show that of the vaccine-eligible population, ages 5 and above, just 55.6 percent are considered fully-vaccinated.

Of those, only 39 percent have gotten a booster.

“I don’t have any clue what in the world we could be waiting on,” Justice said in his briefing today.

Justice also urged West Virginians to take advantage of the free covid-19 home tests offered by the federal government.

“The more we test, the more we know. The more we know, the more we’re going to be prepared,” he said.

West Virginia has now recorded 5,609 deaths from covid-19 since the pandemic began.

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