West Virginia Leaders Hopeful That Pandemic Peak Is Waning
As deaths from the coronavirus in West Virginia continued a staggering climb in September, Gov. Jim Justice deflected attention toward his hope that the latest pandemic peak is starting to wane.
Active cases have been cut in half over the past two weeks to about 14,500 from the pandemic record of more than 29,700. Still, the number of positive tests for the seven days ending Sunday were the third most weekly cases during the pandemic. Records were set for the two weeks before that, according to state health data.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia had the second-highest rate among the states in virus cases per 100,000 population over the past week.
The number of people hospitalized for the virus has dropped to 978 from the record more than 1,000 last week. People in hospital intensive care units and on ventilators remained near record levels.
“We are going through the peak and it looks like we’re starting to turn down, and that’s great news," Justice said at a news conference. “It seems like we’re in a hold pattern right at the peak.”
Dr. Clay Marsh, the state's coronavirus expert, added that recent numbers “gives us some reason to hope that we will continue to see declines.”
At least 484 people have died from the virus this month in West Virginia, more than the first eight months of the pandemic combined.
Justice suggested that the ages of victims seem to be getting younger. While the overwhelming majority of victims earlier in the pandemic were elderly, 17 of the 45 deaths read by the governor Monday involved people under 65, including six who were 50 and younger.