On the same day as COVID-19 claimed its 100,000th life worldwide, the West Virginia coronavirus czar said the Mountain State could see its peak number of cases earlier — and lower — than expected.
Dr. Clay Marsh said the University of Washington model now predicts COVID-19 cases in West Virginia will peak on Easter Sunday – just two days away.
The number of expected deaths has also decreased, from several hundred to 74 in the most recent model. Five people have died so far in West Virginia.
However, Marsh cautioned that we are still at the beginning of the health crisis, not the end, and noted that stay-at-home and social distancing measures are key to limiting the spread of COVID-19 in a state whose population remains particularly vulnerable to the virus.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported 51 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, pushing the statewide total to 574.
Locally, the third case of COVID-19 was identified in Upshur County on Friday, according to a press release from the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department.
The health department declined to release any information on the case other than to say it is not due to community transmission. The first person in Upshur County who tested positive for COVID-19 has recovered, while the other two are quarantining at home, according to nurse director Sue McKisic.
Statewide, Marsh said about 11 percent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered. Around 18 percent of the active cases are hospitalized, with the rest in home isolation.
In his daily press conference Friday, Gov. Jim Justice also pledged state funds to the frontline and essential workers fighting the pandemic.
Justice said each county will receive $100,000 in ‘hero pay’ to distribute. Who receives that money will be left up to each county commission, with Justice listing everyone from firefighters to grocery store workers as possible recipients. He also said counties should pass on some of that money to cities as well.
Separately, National Guard members will receive an extra $500 in pay, Justice said.
The governor also added four new counties — Cabell, Wayne, Wood and Ohio – to the more stringent ‘hot spot’ executive order, bringing the total to 11.
Berkeley, Brooke, Cabell, Fayette, Hampshire, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Marion, Marshall, Mercer, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Wetzel, Wirt and Wood counties all reported new cases Friday.
CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (4), Berkeley (89), Boone (1), Braxton (1), Brooke (3), Cabell (21), Fayette (3), Greenbrier (3), Hampshire (3), Hancock (7), Hardy (2), Harrison (28), Jackson (23), Jefferson (46), Kanawha (82), Lewis (2), Logan (8), Marion (32), Marshall (6), Mason (7), McDowell (4), Mercer (8), Mineral (3), Monongalia (78), Monroe (1), Morgan (5), Nicholas (2), Ohio (21), Pendleton (1), Pleasants (1), Preston (6), Putnam (10), Raleigh (5), Randolph (3), Roane (2), Taylor (3), Tucker (3), Tyler (3), Upshur (3), Wayne (17), Wetzel (3), Wirt (2), Wood (18), Wyoming (1).
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