Healthcare, Latest News, State Government

Death toll continues to rise; officials keeping an eye on Delta Plus variant

Gov. Jim Justice opened his Wednesday briefing with the grim task of reading out 85 more COVID-19 deaths in West Virginia.

The total dead is now 4,219, Justice said.

“More and more and more of us ought to get vaccinated,” he said. “The more of us that get vaccinated, the less that will die.”

While deaths continue to mount, other numbers are dropping: Hospitalizations are at 714, with 211 in ICUs and 128 on ventilators. There are 8,469 active cases in the state, with a daily positivity of 6.5% and a cumulative of 6.07%.

If the death toll — more than 700,000 in the U.S. and nearly 5 million worldwide — isn’t enough to motivate people to get the shot, Dr. Clay Marsh pointed to the U.K.’s struggle with yet a new version of the virus. There, they are seeing mutations in the current Delta strain — known as Delta Plus.  With that in mind, it’s important to understand that vaccination isn’t only key to preventing sickness and death, it’s also imperative in stopping the spread.

Marsh also talked about Moderna’s booster shot, which, like Pfizer’s, will be half the dose of the first two. He also said studies are showing those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will likely be able to mix-and-match, receiving a Pfizer, Moderna or J&J booster. Of the three, initial data shows the best protection comes with Moderna.

In an update on the veterans nursing home in Clarksburg experiencing an outbreak, Dr. Ayne Amjad said one patient has died. Five staff and 11 patients are positive for the virus, and all have been given antibody treatments.

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