Dr. Clay Marsh (copy)

Dr. Clay Marsh, state COVID-19 Czar

CHARLESTON — Almost 3,000 new COVID cases were reported in one day in the state on Wednesday, pushing the active case count to 17,718, the highest it’s been since early September when the Delta variant surge was taking off.

Of all those being tested in West Virginia, one in five is positive, just over 20 percent, which is an even higher positivity rate than during the Delta surge.

Hospitalizations also continued to rise in the state, up to 744 on Wednesday after dropping to 498 before the latest surge, which is believed to be primarily the Omicron variant, started.

Mercer County is not seeing such a sharp spike, but is reporting an increase in positive cases, with 391 new cases reported during the last week and 458 active cases.

Bonnie Allen, interim administrator of the Mercer County Health Department, said the county is seeing more cases.

“Our numbers are climbing,” she said. “We had 1,114 cases for the month of December.”

Monroe and McDowell counties also continue to see slight increases in new cases, with 102 new cases last week in McDowell County and 112 in Monroe County.

All three counties are red on the County Alert System map, which indicates a high infection rate as well as a high positivity rate.

Dr. Clay Marsh, state COVID-19 Czar, said Tuesday the surge is expected to continue.

“We know that COVID and the Omicron variant has not finished spreading and has not yet peaked in many states,” he said, including West Virginia.

Although the impact of Omicron on adults may not be as severe as Delta overall, he said, the hospitalization rate will continue to rise because of the “massive number of people getting infected.”

The nation set a new record on Monday, he said, with more than 1 million new cases reported in just one day.

Many positive cases in the state may not be reported at all, so the real number could be higher, said Dr. Ayne Amjad, state Health Officer.

At-home test results are “not going into the public health investigation pool,” she said Tuesday. “We could be undercounting.”

More than 800 testing sites are available around the state.

The Mercer County Health Department holds a drive-through testing clinic once a week as well as a weekly vaccine clinic.

But Allen said Wednesday’s vaccine clinic at the Princeton Rescue Squad Karen Preservati Education Center saw a low turnout.

“Today was really slow,” she said after the clinic. “We only did 89 total. Eight we’re first doses, eight were second doses and 73 were boosters. Last week, we gave 280 vaccines, two first doses, nine second doses and 270 boosters.”

Allen said the department is holding a children’s vaccine clinic at the Princeton Rescue Squad education center for ages 5 to 11 on Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pfizer vaccines will be available for that age group only.

Virginia is also seeing a surge, recording almost 11,000 new cases in one day on Wednesday and almost 100,000 just since last week. COVID hospitalizations are also rising, hitting 2.732, up from 827 on Nov. 12.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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