CHARLESTON — Four more COVID-related deaths were reported Wednesday for Mercer County.
During his pandemic briefing, Gov. Jim Justice read the ages and gender of the victims, whose deaths were reported since Monday by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
They are a 49-yearold male, a 90-year-old female, a 65-year-old male and an 88-year-old male. Unofficially, that brings the total number of COVID-related deaths in Mercer County to 46.
The Mercer County Health Department has not yet verified the numbers.
A total of 59 statewide COVID deaths were recorded by DHHR since Monday, bringing the total number of COVID deaths in the state to 901, Justice said.
A new record number of hospitalizations has also been hit, he said, with 650 in the hospital and 180 in ICUs as of Wednesday, adding that 1,402 new positive cases were reported in 24 hours with the total number of active cases in the state surpassing 20,000.
Justice also said 14 counties are in the red zone on the County Alert System map and 22 in orange, which means schools cannot offer in-person instruction in 26 of the state’s 55 counties.
Monroe and McDowell counties are in the yellow zone based on the positivity rate of tests, which is reflected in the state Department of Education map. Mercer County is in the green zone on that map.
However, all three counties are in the red zone with the infection rate, which measures the average number of positive cases over a seven-day period as all are seeing rises in new cases daily.
Dr. Clay Marsh, state COVID-19 Czar, said the surge is nationwide, with more than 15 million cases, record hospitalizations and almost 290,000 deaths.
Marsh said it took 100 days for the country to reach the first million cases and 44 days for the second million.
“The most recent million cases happened in five days,” he said. “We are not trying to scare people, but just help them understand the gravity of the situation.”
Wearing a mask is a “simple intervention” that protects people, he said, and the tool to use until vaccinations are widespread.
Marsh also said the recent surge in the state may continue because the post-Thanksgiving increase in cases may not have yet peaked.
With the holiday season continuing with more get-togethers, “it provides a very risky situation,” he said.
Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline. com