COVID cases climb back above 800 mark but appear less severe

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Active cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia jumped back above 800 in Tuesday’s report from the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Dr. Clay Marsh

“It likely reflects the impact of the BA.2 variant that has continued to grow here in West Virginia as well as the rest of the country,” state Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said during Tuesday’s media briefing. “As we look at national numbers, we have seen a higher number in the increase of cases than we have hospitalizations and deaths.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations in West Virginia were back up to 100 Tuesday but Marsh said that’s a very low number considering where the state had been earlier this year.

Marsh said the current situation is less severe likely because there are more people vaccinated and many people have been infected with the virus.

As of December 2021, 34% of adults in the U.S. had been infected. Marsh said research shows that number grew to 60% percent of adults by last month and 75% of children.

“So we saw a great number of people infected likely during that interval between December and April and that immune function, particularly with the BA.2 variant, does benefit and also works to reduce the severity of the illness,” Marsh.

Marsh, Gov. Jim Justice and state InterAgency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer all urged during Tuesday’s briefing for those state residents 50 and older to get caught up on their initial vaccinations along with the first and their second boosters.

“If it’s been four or more months since you’ve gotten your first booster shot, you’re resistance is probably way down,” Justice said. “So if you’re in this boat, and you’re over 50 or immunocompromised, you absolutely need to dial it in and get your next booster.

The state confirmed 225 new COVID cases Tuesday along with 13 additional deaths. COVID related deaths in West Virginia now stand at 6,870.

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