CHARLESTON — West Virginia health officials announced Friday night three cases of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, commonly referred to as the UK Variant, have been detected in the Mountain State.
West Virginia becomes the 43rd U.S. state to report having identified the UK Variant among its residents. Forty-two other states have reported 1,523 cases, including all the bordering states to West Virginia.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is collaborating with West Virginia University and Marshall University to conduct whole genome sequencing which is used to detect this variant. The confirmed cases are in the North Central West Virginia region, according to DHHR.
“While the presence of this COVID-19 variant in West Virginia is not surprising, it’s a good motivator for us to double down on the prevention efforts we’ve had in place for many months now,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, state health officer and commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. “Now that we have this confirmation, as Governor Justice always says; it’s not time to be fearful, it’s time to be smart. All West Virginians should continue hand washing, social distancing, proper mask wearing, testing, and everyone should get vaccinated when it’s their turn.”
News of the UK Variants was reported almost 12 hours after DHHR issued its daily COVID report, which documented the death of one more Marion County resident, a 54-year-old woman. Eleven other West Virginians were reported having died from COVID in Friday's report in which the state's new COVID death total was announced as 2,248.
Along with the Marion County death, DHHR has confirmed the deaths of a 51-year old male from Jefferson County, an 89-year old female from Mercer County, a 76-year old male from Kanawha County, a 92-year old male from Fayette County, an 87-year old male from Jackson County, an 85-year old male from Berkeley County, a 63-year old male from Wood County, an 88-year old male from Wayne County, a 91-year old female from Mercer County, a 92-year old female from Mercer County and an 87-year old male from Jackson County.
“It is with great sadness that we announce more lives lost to this pandemic,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR cabinet secretary. “Our sympathies and thoughts go out to these families, and we ask that all West Virginians do their part to prevent further spread of this virus.”
Cases per county: Barbour (1,163), Berkeley (9,532), Boone (1,538), Braxton (769), Brooke (1,983), Cabell (7,646), Calhoun (218), Clay (370), Doddridge (460), Fayette (2,587), Gilmer (699), Grant (1,044), Greenbrier (2,371), Hampshire (1,491), Hancock (2,565), Hardy (1,257), Harrison (4,788), Jackson (1,638), Jefferson (3,560), Kanawha (11,795), Lewis (1,012), Lincoln (1,198), Logan (2,643), Marion (3,601), Marshall (2,967), Mason (1,746), McDowell (1,334), Mercer (4,138), Mineral (2,567), Mingo (2,082), Monongalia (7,716), Monroe (930), Morgan (909), Nicholas (1,154), Ohio (3,567), Pendleton (617), Pleasants (794), Pocahontas (580), Preston (2,499), Putnam (4,116), Raleigh (4,561), Randolph (2,356), Ritchie (604), Roane (488), Summers (696), Taylor (1,072), Tucker (495), Tyler (607), Upshur (1,640), Wayne (2,576), Webster (289), Wetzel (1,062), Wirt (341), Wood (6,908), Wyoming (1,716).
Only 295 new COVID cases were reported in Friday's report, one of the lowest daily totals since the recent December/January surge that brought record numbers of cases and deaths.
To date, Harrison County has had 70 residents die from the coronavirus, Marion County has recorded 32 deaths and Monongalia County has had 68 COVID deaths, according to DHHR data.
West Virginians seeking information about the UK Variant are urged to go to the website for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/index.html to learn more.