Rise in West Virginia COVID infections is serious concern to health officials

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The latest West Virginia numbers are in and the positive Covid infection rate is on the rise. Dramatically.

In Berkley County, positive COVID rates have just about doubled. The data from the CDC and Johns Hopkins University, show a nearly 96% spike in positive COVID infection in Berkeley County alone. Neighboring Jefferson County is at 74%, and Morgan County is at 55%.

“This delta variant is so highly contagious that it is being transmitted to not only the elderly but also the younger population,” said Bill Kearns, an administrator with the Berkeley-Morgan County Board of Health.

The Berkeley County caseload is closing in on 14,000 cases with 141 deaths.

“Our state, as of today, has 17 counties in West Virginia at the highest levels they can be classified as a red count in our state of West Virginia,” said Kearns.

West Virginia is among the least vaccinated of all the states. Across the Mountain State, there were 32 COVID deaths in the past week alone, as of Sunday night. Along with vaccines, can masks help turn the tide?

“These masks are a level of our protection,” Kearns said. “It’s a level of our protection for our children. We know that the delta variant is very contagious for the younger population. So our health officer did put a recommendation and directive to the school boards to elect to be able to have masks mandated for children.”

During the pandemic, there have been more than 177,500 positive Covid cases in West Virginia, with 3,008 deaths.

Kearns said 97% of patients admitted with COVID to the hospital have not been vaccinated. Kearns says anyone who has not been vaccinated should consult with their local pharmacy

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