Justice gives COVID-19 update after unreported deaths announcement

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice gave an update on COVID-19 in the Mountain State at approximately 11 a.m. Friday, March 12.

Wednesday, the governor announced 168 COVID-19 deaths had previously gone unreported. This morning the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources revised that number to 165 after further investigation.

The quality assurance process determined two individuals at the Wayne Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had recovered from COVID-19 at the time of death. Wayne Nursing and Rehabilitation Center now has zero deaths not properly reported.

Another death that occurred at Berkeley Medical Center on the list was determined as a duplicate. That facility also now has no improperly reported deaths.

“Unacceptable” was the word that came out of Gov. Justice’s mouth regarding the 165 deaths that went unreported.

“I do not understand the mistakes, nor do I think they’re acceptable,” remarked Gov. Justice.

According to WV DHHR officials, it can take up to six weeks to receive death certificates from county health departments.

The WV DHHR says “time” is to blame for the 165 deaths not reported, most of them happened in the months of December and January.

State Health Officer, Dr. Ayne Amjad said, “our epi team needs the time to go through this information in a proper way. It is a manual process, so they go through the death certificates, they call each facility, they go through the records if they need to, and they are able to vet this.”

During his COVID-19 briefing, the governor read those 165 deaths along with the eight deaths reported in the past 24 hours. He also reflected on the past year.

“It marks the one-year anniversary that I closed the schools, I closed the state basketball tournament, restricted visitation to our nursing homes,” said Gov. Justice.

This time last year, the West Virginia National Guard first began responding to the pandemic.

To date, more than 230-thousand West Virginians have been fully vaccinated.

West Virginia COVID-19 Czar, Dr. Clay Marsh said, “President Biden has committed that by May 1st we will be able to open up the vaccination to all Americans and certainly we hope to be able to do that perhaps even faster in West Virginia.”

The governor encourages those in the orange and gold counties on the state’s county alert system to get vaccinated, do better at social distancing and wear masks.

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