Government, Latest News, State Government

More than 7,000 West Virginians dead of COVID

Of the more than a million Americans who have died because of COVID-19, 7,001 were West Virginians.  

Gov. Jim Justice announced the “milestone that none of us want to celebrate in any way,” at one of his most-recent press conference and noted the true number may be higher because, as with any Monday, the full weekend numbers may not be in yet.

The four deaths since the last press conference were a 96-year-old male, 67-year-old female, 75-year-old male, and 53-year-old male. Three of the deaths were in Cabell County and one was in McDowell County.

“It’s unbelievable, you know, and we’ve all lived it,” Justice said. “It’s just hard to fathom. I mean, you know, if you think about all the tough things that we see on the news from time to time, over the years, the mine disasters or a plane crash, or whatever it may be — it’s a drop in the bucket compared to this. 7,000 great West Virginians is in fact 7,001, great West Virginians we’ve lost.”

Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s COVID Czar, said the grim milestone should give us all pause. 

There are 208 people hospitalized with 35 in the ICU and seven on ventilators, Justice said. The map continues to be green and yellow.

Marsh and Justice encouraged people to use the state’s vaccine calculator at to see if they should get a booster. Justice said those who’ve gone to the trouble of getting vaccinated shouldn’t let that effort go to waste by not getting a booster.

The state’s most-recent cases are omicron BA.2 and BA.2.12.1, March said. BA.4 and BA.5 will start to take over in the next several weeks — they are spreading nationally and West Virginia is always a bit behind.

The new variants are more infectious and replicate better in the lower airways, resulting in about a 20% increase in hospitalizations, Marsh said. 

“This is not said to scare people, because still we are not seeing that kind of hospital numbers that we saw before, but to make people cognizant,” Marsh said. “And these variants are so infectious that as we’ve seen, they’re breaking through some people that have had vaccinations a while back. And that’s the reason why the governor is being so persistent. And we all are about trying to help people see that staying up to date with the vaccines is absolutely the best protection that you can have against these variants.”

Also during the press conference:

  • Justice encouraged people to take advantage of the Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program.  “Please, just cause if you’re a renter, if you’re a landlord, if you own a home, call us and everything and we’ll see if we can get you qualified to get some dollars in your pocket. If you’re hurting, and you’re behind on something and everything just call us,” Justice said.
  • Announced $12.8 million in grants for sewer projects in three locations across the state
  • Announced the first Brownfield Revolving Fund low-interest loan by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to the City of Wheeling to help remediate and redevelop the former Penn-Wheeling Closure

TWEET @DominionPostWV