West Virginia Reports 1,000 New Coronavirus Cases, 4,000 Active, As Delta Spread Surges
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise, West Virginia officials say the delta variant is causing more extreme spread than previous strains of the virus. State officials say the fast-spreading variant could lead to a surge more deadly than previous waves of the pandemic.
West Virginia health officials reported 1,037 new cases of the coronavirus Monday, putting the number of active cases at 4,010. Active cases peaked in January of this year, but were less than half the current number exactly a year ago.
“This is exactly what we’ve been afraid of,” said Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh, the top health official advising Gov. Jim Justice.
Justice and other state officials pointed to the recent uptick in cases, hospitalizations and the use of intensive care and ventilators as the need for all residents to get vaccinated.
“We're not going to be able to stop this surge that is with us right now,” Justice said, before reiterating that the best defense is vaccinations.
James Hoyer, director of the state’s interagency task force, said data from the West Virginia Hospital Association shows 269 hospitalizations for the coronavirus as of Monday. A year ago, state officials recorded 123 hospitalizations, ahead of that figure peaking at 818 on Jan. 5, according to data from public health officials.
“Look at the trend line. We're putting our health care workers, our hospitals, in an exceptionally difficult position if we don't pick up the pace of vaccination,” Hoyer said.
While other statistics, such as ICU hospitalizations and ventilator usage, are not near records during the wave, Justice and his advisers continue to warn that the delta variant may put the state back to the worst moments it has experienced during the pandemic.
Health officials said the delta variant accounts for 91 percent of new cases of the coronavirus. They say data on variant sequencing can be delayed by as much as a week.
Marsh says the worst of the delta variant is still in front of the state — with a potential peak likely to come in the fall.