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BLUEFIELD — State officials on Wednesday identified another two previously unreported COVID-19 deaths in Mercer County. In neighboring McDowell County, the health department also confirmed a new virus-related death Wednesday.

In all, 34 previously unreported COVID-19 related deaths, including one in Monroe County, were confirmed by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. The newly discovered virus deaths included a 93-yearold female from Mercer, a 79-year-old male from Mercer County and an 86-year-old male from Monroe County.

With the new cases, Mercer County’s virus death toll to date has climbed to 123. Monroe County has reported 15 COVID-19 related deaths to date.

The new virus-related deaths were discovered through the DHHR’s Health Statistics Center, which, conducted a data match to examine COVID-19 associated deaths reported through death certificates, according to DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch.

“We take the reporting of these tragic deaths very seriously,” Crouch said. “As we extend our deepest sympathies to their loved ones, we also encourage all West Virginians to recognize the continued need to take every possible step to slow the spread of this disease.”

The McDowell County Health Department also confirmed a new virus-related death Wednesday.

According to the health department, the individual died of complications related to COVID-19. This is the 22nd virus-related death to date to be confirmed by McDowell County.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the patient’s family and friends,” the health department said in a statement. “This is a tragic development in this outbreak and the McDowell County Health Department continues to ask all citizens to help slow down the spread of the disease and to protect those at greatest risk by following the guidelines. “ Despite the confirmation of the previously unreported coronavirus deaths and warnings of “impending doom” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention associated with a possible — but not yet confirmed —fourth wave of the pandemic, local virus numbers remain relatively flat.

The number of active virus cases in Mercer County on Wednesday stood at 141, down slightly from earlier this week. Mercer County has been hovering in the 140 range for about a week now with no significant increases or decreases in active virus cases being reported.

So far 4,125 people in Mercer County have recovered from the virus. The number of active virus cases in Monroe County Wednesday stood at 22 with 980 people recovering to date.

In McDowell County, 57 virus cases were considered active Wednesday with 1,333 people having recovered from the virus to date.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Biden administration, made headlines Tuesday when she warned of “impending doom” associated with a possible fourth surge of the pandemic. Her unusual warning came as increasing numbers of Americans are being vaccinated against the virus.

In Mercer County, the DHHR is estimating that 38.5 percent of the county’s population has now been vaccinated. So far, 22,570 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered in Mercer County as of Wednesday.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline. com

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