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State passes 6,000 deaths

West Virginia passed another bleak milestone Monday, surpassing 6,000 COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Justice read an additional 31 victims at the start of Monday’s briefing, bringing the toll to date to 6,023.

“It rips my heart out in so many ways and I just hate it,” Justice said.

“It is an absolutely horrible choice to not get your booster shot.”

In some positive news, however, new cases and hospitalizations are trending downward, signaling an end to the recent omicron surge that took West Virginia to record highs for patients hospitalized, in ICUs and on ventilators.

Since the last update, there have been 897 new cases. The daily is positivity rate is at 15.25%, with a cumulative of 8.25%.

There are 779 people in the hospital, with 100 in ICU and 113 on vents.

Overall, case rates are down, with the DHHR map currently showing only one red county.

Gen. James Hoyer said 326 National Guard members are still augmenting staffing at 36 facilities.

“We in West Virginia are also seeing the reduction in number of new cases on a daily basis, hospital numbers going down, but we also just exceeded 6,000 deaths,” COVID-19 czar Dr. Clay Marsh said, adding many of those deaths could have been prevented if those people chose to get vaccinated and boosted.

The panel announced a new antibody treatment has been given emergency use authorization by the FDA and shipments are expected to go out soon. However, Marsh noted, this particular treatment is intended to be held in reserve, to be used only if other treatments are unavailable.

Marsh pointed out that West Virginia isn’t the only place marking grim milestones these days. The U.S. just passed 920,000 deaths from the virus, putting the country on course to see 1 million dead before long.

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