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CHARLESTON — The number of new COVID cases reported Wednesday in West Virginia hit almost 2,000, with the number of active cases once again topping 9,000.

In a 24-hour period, 1,976 new cases were reported with a 12.44 percent positivity rate. The number of active cases rose to 9,478.

According to the DHHR (Department of Health and Human Resources), the seven-day average of new daily cases around the state has risen from 722 on Nov. 7 to 1,080 on Wednesday.

Although these numbers have fluctuated, the trend has been to see an increase, and the newest numbers may indicate an expected surge is under way.

Dr. Clay Marsh, state COVID-19 Czar, said Tuesday the surge is happening across the country and internationally as well and the Omicron variant is dominant.

“We know it is contagious in a manner that is very much different than we have ever seen before,” he said of the ability of Omicron to spread quickly.

Gov. Jim Justice said Omicron is “sweeping across the land” and will be coming to West Virginia.

“Hear me when I say you need to be vaccinated so badly, and if you’ve already been vaccinated, you need to have your booster shot,” he said. “This thing will surely skyrocket in West Virginia. You have to protect yourself.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam had the same message Wednesday after Virginia reported 12,112 new cases in one day, with 21 of the state’s 35 health districts in the “red zone,” which is considered a surge. The Cumberland Plateau district, which includes Tazewell County, remains in the light blue or “plateau” stage.

“The COVID case numbers are a reason for concern, but not a reason for panic,” Northam said. “Vaccinations are keeping people safe, even as the omicron variant spreads. Data from around the world show that if people have gotten vaccinated, and then get COVID, then symptoms are likely to be minor. That’s how the vaccines are designed to work, and it’s more good news.”

Northam said the data are clear: “Nearly everyone going to the hospital with COVID is unvaccinated. This is entirely avoidable, if everyone gets their shots.”

Both Justice and Northam have also been saying vaccinations keep hospitalizations down and that is crucial because capacity will be challenged and health professionals are overwhelmed.

“This is really important, because people working in hospitals are exhausted—nurses, doctors, and everyone,” Northam said. “They have worked tirelessly for months to care for people who have gotten sick. Please go to the hospital only if you believe you really need to. It’s not fair to put even more pressure on hospital workers to care for people whose sickness is avoidable.”

As of Thursday, Mercer County passed the grim milestone of over 200 COVID-19 related deaths. The DDHR reported a total of 202 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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