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Deaths continue to decline in state

COVID-19 deaths continue to decline in West Virginia, with nine people dying since Friday, but no deaths from Sunday to Monday, Gov. Jim Justice said Monday during his regular press briefing on the pandemic and the state’s efforts to eradicate the virus.

“And no one in the last 24 hours have lost their lives,” Justice said. “This is really, really good.”
“This month, almost a year ago, we were beginning to feel the gravity of the situation. It’s amazing how primed we were for disaster.”

There are 193 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, with a daily positivity rate of 4.3%. Justice said there are now less than 7,000 active cases of the virus, and 229 remain hospitalized, with 59 in intensive care. Nine long-term care facilities in the state have outbreaks, he said.

Also, 122,751 people have recovered from the virus. There has also been an 85% decline in the death rate from the virus during the first seven weeks of 2021.

Overall, 496,698 people have received the vaccine, said Justice, adding the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and should be available in West Virginia later this week. All total, the state is expected to receive 15,500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 34,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 36,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The state has administered 95.4% of the vaccines it has received.

“Please go and get your test,” Justice said.

While not offering any specifics, Justice hinted that he may lift additional COVID-19 restrictions later this week because of the decrease in new cases. When asked for further details, Justice said it wasn’t time to make the announcement.

“All businesses must continue to follow safety guidelines,” said Justice, adding that includes wearing a face mask. “We want to continue to live.”

In an unrelated matter, Justice said the state had a budget surplus of $34.2 million in February, bringing the surplus to date of more than $280 million. West Virginia’s fiscal year ends June 30.