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168 COVID deaths not reported in West Virginia

CHARLESTON — More than 160 deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus have not been reported to the state, Gov. Jim Justice said today at his pandemic briefing.

The governor said 168 people dying in the care of hospitals, hospice groups, long-term care facilities and two inmates who died at hospitals were not reported.

Justice appeared perturbed and cited the non-reporting of the deaths at the beginning of the briefing.

“It’s just plain awful, awful,” Justice said.

The Department of Health and Human Resources reported the death toll from the virus since the pandemic began was 2,330 as of Wednesday morning.

Administration officials from Health and Human Resources will investigate to see why the deaths were not reported, according to Justice.

“This kind of stuff is totally unacceptable to me,” Justice said.

About 70 facilities in 30 counties around the state were involved, mostly hospitals and nursing homes, Dr. Ayne Amjad, state health officer, said.

A list of the facilities is available and the state will be contacting each, she said.

Reporting protocols were established in April 2020, Amjad said.

“These protocols are in place so we can accurately report COVID-19 deaths,” she said.

The information was reported to the Department of Health and Human Resources late on Friday, Amjad said.

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