During his regular briefing, Gov. Jim Justice reported 551 new positive cases of COVID-19 after the holidays with 360 patients hospitalized.
Officials have often said the state has a capacity of about 500 beds, but right now staffing shortages are raising concerns after the recent spike in case numbers.
“Remember, the number at 500 really, really puts a strain on our hospitals in West Virginia. This is a big number jump,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “And literally at the end of the day, we can live with this, but I really urge you to get vaccinated and get your booster shots.”
West Virginia lost 26 more people to the virus and has 1,439 active cases, making for a daily positivity rate of 11.29 percent. Justice reported that 56 of the 360 patients hospitalized in the state are in the ICU, 17 of whom are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh urged the public to take precautions for themselves and their loved one’s safety against new variants. An emerging mutation of COVID-19 called XBB1.5 now accounts for 75 percent of infections in the northeast United States and 41 percent of infections nationwide.
“So we know our older population now is going to be the one most vulnerable to those,” Marsh said. “And importantly in the United States, we just passed 100 million cases of COVID-19. And we know that this is by far the most infectious period today. And the virus continues to gain power. And so we need to also gain power to offset it.”