Emily Rice Published

Health Officials Warn Of Rising Hospitalization Numbers

A flu vaccine is administered at a walk-up COVID-19 testing sit in San Fernando, Calif. A COVID-19 vaccine could soon win emergency use authorization from the FDA.

During a press briefing Wednesday morning, Gov. Jim Justice read out 11 additional COVID-19 deaths in the state, bringing the state’s total to 7,649.

“We have 941 active cases now in West Virginia, 378 new cases in the last 24 hours,” Justice said. “Our daily positivity rate is 6.84, cumulative rate is at 8.53, recovered cases almost 610,000. There are 190 people hospitalized, 22 in the ICU 6 on a ventilator. Most counties are green, ten are yellow.”

Justice, alongside Dr. Jeff Coben, interim secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), and DHHR advisors, Dr. Clay Marsh and Ret. Gen. Jim Hoyer, urged West Virginians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu, in order to mitigate severe illness this winter.

Marsh said a new COVID-19 variant called BQ.1, has the ability to evade the immune system and is more powerful, making it especially dangerous for people over the age of 65.

“Getting up to date with your vaccination not only protects people from severe consequences of COVID, hospitalization and death, it also reduces the risk of long COVID,” Marsh said. “So this is something that we want to protect people from, and we also know today that about 90 percent of people dying from COVID-19, again are over 65 years old, it is becoming a disease of our elders.”

According to Marsh, one in four people who have had COVID-19, suffer symptoms of long COVID, in some cases these symptoms last for several months.

“If you are over 65, you’ve got to think about the flu shot, you have got to think about that booster, you’ve got to think about taking those precautions because over 70, particularly with omicron and delta has been the most vulnerable of our population nationally and clearly in West Virginia,” Hoyer said.