With the recent uptick of COVID-19, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports that there are now nearly 3,400 confirmed cases throughout the state. This is a significant increase from the less than 1,000 confirmed cases reported just three weeks ago. And as families all across West Virginia are preparing to send their children back to school, the Mountain State still struggles to elevate the vaccination rate above 50% of its residents.
During his Friday, Aug. 6 coronavirus response media briefing, Gov. Jim Justice once again stressed the need for West Virginians to get vaccinated, saying: “With all the risks that are out there, you need to move today. We all know how to stop it. All we’ve got to do is get vaccinated.”
Earlier in the week, The WVBOE and the WVDOE released their “back-to-school guidance for the 2021-2022 school year” in an effort to “provide county school systems with strategies to facilitate the safe return to school and the continued operation of schools without interruption.”
The document begins with a message from State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch.
“As we head into another school year, it is incredible to look back to this time last year and realize how far we have come,” Burch stated in his message. “Our resilience is reflected in the response our administrators, educators, school personnel, students, and family have shown even as the pandemic continues to create challenges. We are all working together to determine the best path forward for our school communities because we all understand the importance of having our children in the classroom in-person and engaged with our teachers.”
The full document is available to view by visiting the W.Va. Department of Education’s website.
The DHHR further reports that West Virginia now has 129 confirmed cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19. This reflects a 29% increase in reported cases of the Delta variant in the past seven days. With 24, Berkeley County has the most reported cases of the Delta variant, followed by Monongalia County with 17. Greenbrier County has reported five confirmed cases of the Delta variant. Fayette, Mercer, Raleigh and Summers counties have each reported one case. As of Sunday, August 8, 23 counties have identified no cases of the Delta variant.
“We’re starting to see a more rapid increase,” Justice further said on Friday. “There needs to be more and more concern about getting yourself vaccinated because we’re running out of time.”
There has also been a recent surge in hospitalizations. At present, 210 West Virginians are hospitalized as a result of COVID-19, with 68 being cared for in area intensive-care units and 27 being treated with ventilators.
“It will only get worse if we don’t really aggressively run and get vaccinated today,” Justice concluded.