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Gov. Justice Says COVID-19 Deaths Undercount Is 'Awful'

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gives a speech during a Department of Tourism conference Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, at the Morgantown Event Center.
Jesse Wright

Every time Gov. Jim Justice holds a press conference he reads the age, gender, and county of everyone in West Virginia that has recently died from COVID-19.

On Friday, he will read a much longer list of those that have passed. That’s because state officials say 70 health care providers throughout the state did not report 168 deaths.

"How in the world could we have 168 great West Virginians that we just passed by. It’s awful," Justice said at a virtual press briefing today.

The state noticed the undercount once death certificates came to vital statistics, a process that takes several weeks. These deaths mostly occurred in December and January. The state will reach out to each of the 70 providers. Almost half of those providers are in Kanawha County.

Including the undercount, nearly 2,500 people have died from COVID-19 in the state.

Appalachia Health News Reporter, jleffler@wvpublic.org, 502-377-0438, @june_leffler

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