W.Va. surpasses 6,000 COVID-19 pandemic deaths

CHARLESTON — West Virginia has surpassed 6,000 coronavirus deaths as a health official warned that while confirmed cases and hospitalizations were on the decline, the rate of fatalities isn’t expected to slow in the state just yet.

Gov. Jim Justice said at a regular COVID-19 briefing that 6,023 people have died in the state since the start of the pandemic.

Signs indicate that the omicron variant outbreak is diminishing in West Virginia. The number of confirmed cases over the past week, 8,144, represented the fourth straight week of declines. There were 779 people hospitalized for the virus Monday, down from the record 1,097 on Feb. 2, according to the Department of Health and Human Resources’ COVID-19 website.

At correctional facilities, there were 523 active virus cases among inmates and residents Monday along with 116 cases involving corrections officers, about half the number from a week earlier.

The COVID-19 weekly death rate nationwide is going down, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“In West Virginia we anticipate that will also be what we experience, but maybe not for a week or two, which is a reason why it’s so important for people to choose to be fully vaccinated and to get their third dose,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus expert.