Healthcare, Latest News, State Government

Justice and team: COVID on the decline, but cold weather and flu season coming

MORGANTOWN – COVID is on the wane, for now, Gov. Jim Justice and his team said Tuesday.

“It’s getting better, it’s getting better,” Justice said about Tuesday’s numbers.

The numbers were: 1,233 active cases; 293 new cases; 230 hospitalized with 37 in ICUs and 11 on ventilators.

Hospitalizations are “dropping to reasonable levels,” Joint Interagency Task Force Director Gen. James Hoyer said. The recent surge peaked at 382 in August and declined from there – with the leadership team eyeing 500 as the number to be concerned about in terms of statewide hospital capacity.

Hoyer said 27,500 residents have received the omicron-specific booster, and combining that with federal figures puts it at about 40,000. But, “It is not nearly the numbers that we need to get to blunt this with the tools available to us.”

COVID 19 Czar Clay Marsh said that while the surge is passing, 400 people a day are still dying across the country. And flu season and cold weather – when people congregate together inside – are approaching. Countries just coming out of their winter – such as Australia – and colder European countries has seen an elevation in cases and hospitalizations.

And while BA.5 is plateauing, new variants are appearing, he said. All that combines to make it important for residents to get their boosters, or get vaccinated if they haven’t – especially the older and more vulnerable portions of the population.

Vaccination doesn’t prevent catching COVID, he said, but it blunts the worst effects: serious illness and death.

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