New coronavirus cases slow, but deaths climb in West Virginia
CHARLESTON — West Virginia continued another week of decreases in coronavirus cases, though deaths continue to set records.
The number of positive cases between Aug. 3 and 6 was 1,632, which is a 14-percent decrease in positive cases from the previous 14 days. As of Sunday — the most recent data available — the state reported 65 new cases.
The total numbers of tests over the last 14 days was 65,867, which was a 7 percent increase in testing compared to testing conducted from July 20 through Aug. 2. The daily positivity rate as of Monday was 1.18 percent, while the cumulative positive rate was 2.39 percent.
“That’s great, but we did have 170 new cases over the weekend,” said Gov. Jim Justice during his Monday coronavirus briefing from the State Capitol Building. “We’re dealing with an invisible killer that is really tough, so stay the course West Virginia and keep on doing good stuff.”
Active COVID-19 cases — the number of infected people in self-quarantine or hospitalized — remained flat over the last seven days at 1,941 cases as of Monday, a 1 percent increase from 1,914 cases on Aug. 10. Active cases have increased in 22 out of 55 counties, while cases in 26 counties have decreased and five counties have seen no changes in case numbers. Six counties have no positive coronavirus cases.
The state reported 160 total COVID-19 deaths as of Monday. Deaths are up by 153 percent over the last 14 days with 43 deaths between Aug. 3 and 16. In the last seven days, the state saw 21 deaths attributed to the coronavirus.
“These people absolutely deserve respect and I’m going to continue to give them all of the respect I can give them,” Justice said. “Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. They are not a statistic. They are a family, a name, and they have loved ones all around them.”
Hospitalizations are up to 134 as of Sunday. The average number of hospitalizations between Aug. 3 and 16 increased by 38 percent over the average number of hospitalizations the previous 14 days. There are 50 infected people in intensive care units and 19 people on ventilators.
Justice said the state’s “Rt” number, which gauges how quickly the virus is spreading, went from one of the highest in the nation but decreased coinciding with the state’s mandatory mask order on June 29. As of Monday, the Rt number for West Virginia was .95, which was the 13th best rate in the nation.
“It surely couldn’t have happened quickly, but right almost at the day that we started wearing our masks as a mandatory gesture any time we were out in a public building, that Rt value started down,” Justice said. “We got as good as fifth in the nation as far as the good side. At the time we made this mandatory we were dead last in the nation. There are different things we’re doing inside our cities, our homes, and our communities to make us safer and better.”
(Adams can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)