West Virginia breaks record for new confirmed virus cases

Romelia Hodges, from left, Tiffany Walker Samuels — both members of the Governor's Commission on African-American Disparities — work with Marion County Health Department Administrator Lloyd white to check the sign-in sheet at free COVID testing event held in May at Windmill Park.

CHARLESTON — West Virginia has set a record for newly confirmed coronavirus cases as infections, deaths and hospitalizations surge in the state, according to health data released Friday.

The state recorded 182 new cases Thursday, the highest daily total since the outbreak began. Officials with the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources also reported record highs in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, intensive care unit patients and virus ventilator use.

Gov. Jim Justice renewed his call for residents to wear masks and urged people to take the virus seriously as it surges within West Virginia and in surrounding states. Still, he declined to reimpose additional virus restrictions Friday, but did not rule out such measures if metrics continue to climb.

"It may be that we need to start backing up and backing up in a more aggressive way," Justice said, though he added “we're not there yet.”

Confirmed cases in West Virginia have more than doubled in the past month to around 6,600 infections, as the state tries to contain outbreaks at nursing homes, among young people and from travel. Deaths have also risen in recent days to at least 116 total.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.

From July 1 to July 31, COVID-19 cases in Harrison grew from 65 to 182 cases with 144 having recovered and one death since the pandemic began. In the same period, Marion County cases grew from 58 to 166 cases with 85 having recovered and 83 current cases and two deaths. The numbers grew dramatically in Monongalia County in the month of July, which started out with 166 cases and skyrocketed to 880 cases of COVID-19. In the meantime, in Mon, there have been 763 cases that have recovered, 128 active cases and five deaths. The majority of the COVID-19 deaths took place in the Sundale Nursing Home in Morgantown.

Overall, 116 West Virginia residents have died due to the coronavirus COVID-19.

Saturday, in Windmill Park in Fairmont, there is a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing event sponsored by the Governor's Commission on African-American Disparities, however, the testing to open to everyone and is free. Health officials want to reach as many people as possible so everyone can have peace of mind about the virus.

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