On Thursday, December 16, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources released the following statement regarding the identification of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus:
“The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the Marion County Health Department have confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant in the state is an unvaccinated resident of Marion County.
To protect patient confidentiality, no further information will be provided.”
During his coronavirus response media-briefing, also on Thursday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said, “It’s not good news, but we knew it was coming. It’s running across the entire country and the entire globe.”
Thursday’s announcement marks the first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in the Mountain State.
As of Sunday, December 19, 314,791 total cases of COVID-19 have been identified within the state since the onset of the pandemic, resulting in a total of 5,164 deaths attributed to the virus.
The most recent deaths include an 89-year old female from Berkeley County, a 70-year old female from Raleigh County, a 47-year old male from Hardy County, an 83-year old female from Monroe County, a 59-year old male from Putnam County, a 72-year old female from Brooke County, a 52-year old male from Berkeley County, a 66-year old male from Hampshire County, a 58-year old male from Harrison County, an 89-year old male from Berkeley County, an 87-year old male from Brooke County, a 61-year old female from Cabell County, a 62-year old male from Brooke County, an 82-year old female from Jackson County, a 60-year old male from Ohio County, a 56-year old female from Jackson County, an 83-year old female from Raleigh County, a 68-year old male from Hancock County, an 89-year old male from Randolph County, a 54-year old male from Monongalia County, a 53-year old male from Lewis County, and a 58-year old male from Lewis County.
In a message posted to the DHHR website on Friday, December 17, Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch said, “As we share this sad news, we pause to remember each West Virginian lost. Protect your loved ones by scheduling a COVID vaccine or booster.”
West Virginia currently has 9,149 active cases throughout the state.
In Greenbrier County, the infection rate is 55.64%, while the percent-positive is 8.34. In Monroe County, those number are 68.33% and 8.97%, respectively. In Pocahontas County, the infection rate is 19.92%, white the percent-positive is 3.57.
In Raleigh County, the infection rate is 72.25%, while the percent-positive is 11.04. In Fayette County, those numbers are 70.41% and 7.85%, respectively. And in Summers County, the infection rate is 31.81%, while the percent-positive is 4.79.
Currently, 631 West Virginians are hospitalized with COVID-19, 204 of whom are being cared for at various intensive care units across the state. A total of 112 residents are being treated through the use of ventilators.
West Virginia continues to struggle with the administration of vaccines, with now just 60% of the state’s residents at least partially vaccinated.