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Appalachia Health News tells the story of our health challenges and how we overcome them throughout the region. 

W.Va. Approaches 4,000 COVID-19 Deaths As State Hospitals Get $17 Million in Support

A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

As of Friday morning, the state reported 3,935 West Virginians have died of COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.

Though hospitalizations and active cases continue to fall, new records were set this week for single-day deaths.

“Deaths are the lagging indicator,” said state coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh. “Cases go up first, hospitalizations second, and deaths go up third.”

Tuesday marked the deadliest day, with 65 deaths reported by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

“That's the most we’ve ever had to read,” Gov. Jim Justice said Thursday at his regular briefing. “This is the impact of the surge at its peak.”

Forty-two people died Thursday, marking the second-deadliest day. (DHHR reported these deaths in press releases, but the data were not updated on the COVID-19 dashboard as of Friday).

The previous high was one day last December when 38 people died.

As hospitals continue to provide care under “crisis” modes, the state offered to offset some of providers’ staffing costs. DHHR Sec. Bill Crouch announced $17 million will go to about 40 hospitals in West Virginia. Another payment of a similar size should roll out in the coming weeks.

“On behalf of the hospitals in West Virginia and the 49,000 employees who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, we thank the governor and his COVID-19 pandemic leadership team,” said Jim Kaufman, president of the West Virginia Hospital Association.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.

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