Amelia Knisely Published

With More Deaths Reported, State Approaches Another Grim Pandemic Milestone

A COVID-19 test is collected in Salt Lake City, Utah. A federal study published Monday found that Hispanic and non-white workers make up a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases associated with workplace outbreaks in Utah.

As he has since the beginning of the pandemic, Gov. Jim Justice began his COVID-19 press conference Tuesday reading a list of names of the most recent deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total to 7,590.

Ret. Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, who has helped lead the state’s pandemic response, noted that the state will soon hit another grim milestone.

“In 11 more lost citizens in our state, we will have lost the equivalent of Pleasants County, West Virginia, to omicron deaths — primarily older West Virginians,” Hoyer said. “We’ve got to continue to press, as the governor points out, to get our older West Virginians that omicron booster.”

State Coronavirus Czar Clay Marsh noted that, nationwide, 29 percent of the people 65 and older have gotten the most recent booster shot.

The state’s COVID-19 cases have continued to decline, but Marsh said the newest COVID-19 variant is 175 times more infectious than the original COVID-19 virus. He said the newest variant is likely to be the dominant variant in West Virginia in the coming weeks.

“We are very concerned about the potential impact of this new variant coming to West Virginia,” Marsh said. “This is a time to act and avoid having really serious manifestations, particularly with the holidays coming up.”

State leaders urged residents to use the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ online vaccine calculator to stay up to date on vaccinations.