Concerns grow as COVID-19 variants spread in West Virginia

West Virginia

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — During his Wednesday COVID-19 briefing, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and his health advisors focused on the growing variant problem.

“It is in our younger age group population,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, West Virginia Public Health Officer.

Today, the state has 142 confirmed cases of the U.K. variant and more than 160 cases of the California variant.

Overall, West Virginia has seen the number of all active COVID-19 cases rise by more than 1,700 since the first case was confirmed in mid-March.

“We have the UK variant in about 19 counties. Most of those are in our border counties. The top three counties are Berkeley, Mon County and Ohio County, ” said Dr. Amjad.

Not only are the COVID-19 variants fairly new, they are far more dangerous.

“We know the variant that is causing the problem, is twice as infectious, and twice as deadly,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

As for which young people, 16 and older will get their vaccinations first, the state says one group in particular must have top priority.

“A number of these cases are coming in environments where people aren’t able to wear masks consistently or distance, so therefore we do want to target our student-athletes,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.

So far about half a million West Virginians have received the first dose of the vaccine – and nearly 360,000 have received both.

“There are also concerns about people at the other end of the age spectrum. State health officials say 90 thousand residents over age 65 still have not been vaccinated, and they are the most likely to contract COVID-19 and die,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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