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West Virginia’s first Omicron case identified in Marion County

The first case of the highly-contagious Omnicron variant of COVID-19 has been identified in West Virginia, health officials announced Thursday.

“The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the Marion County Health Department have confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant in the state is an unvaccinated resident of Marion County,” the DHHR said in a press release. “To protect patient confidentiality, no further information will be provided.”

State coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said the variant could cause a surge of new cases to flood local hospitals.

“Given our vulnerable population and given what’s going on around the rest of the country, we are in the bullseye, right now, of a very, very large storm that could be coming right at us and at our hospitals and our communities and our citizens,” Marsh said during a press briefing Thursday. “We have never experienced a form of COVID-19 that can spread as rapidly as the Omicron variant, and the Omicron variant is a bit different than Delta in that it appears to be about twice as infectious inside of families and about three times as infectious overall. It also seems to be able to infect people who have been either previously infected with another form of COVID-19 or people that have been vaccinated but not boosted.”

Gov. Jim Justice pleaded for Mountain State residents to get vaccinated.

“We need to get you vaccinated,” Justice said. “I’ve said it over and over, I don’t care what you’re doing today, there is nothing more important than getting vaccinated or getting your booster shot.”

Overall, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Thursday that 8,737 cases of COVID-19 are currently active in the Mountain State. That’s an increase of 433 since the last report.

Locally, COVID-19 cases are active in Upshur (81), Barbour (71), Lewis (83), Randolph (85) and Webster (49) counties. In Upshur County, that’s an unchanged number of active cases in the last 24 hours.

In a bit of good news, no additional deaths were attributed to the disease in the last 24 hours, according to the DHHR.

“The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of December 16, 2021, there are currently 8,737 active COVID-19 cases statewide. There have been no deaths reported since the last report, with a total of 5,142 deaths attributed to COVID-19,” according to a press release.

About 623 residents are hospitalized with the virus (81% unvaccinated, 19% vaccinated), with 196 currently in intensive care (87% unvaccinated, 13% vaccinated) and 117 on a ventilator (86% unvaccinated, 14% vaccinated). The daily percent positive was 8.45%.

A total of 910,068 people have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in West Virginia, the DHHR said.  That’s about 51% of the state.

CURRENT ACTIVE CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (71), Berkeley (1,124), Boone (103), Braxton (65), Brooke (87), Cabell (372), Calhoun (57), Clay (59), Doddridge (39), Fayette (297), Gilmer (24), Grant (103), Greenbrier (144), Hampshire (73), Hancock (132), Hardy (87), Harrison (339), Jackson (71), Jefferson (481), Kanawha (584), Lewis (83), Lincoln (88), Logan (136), Marion (259), Marshall (104), Mason (102), McDowell (86), Mercer (405), Mineral (107), Mingo (107), Monongalia (271), Monroe (90), Morgan (135), Nicholas (211), Ohio (216), Pendleton (18), Pleasants (22), Pocahontas (18), Preston (110), Putnam (271), Raleigh (450), Randolph (85), Ritchie (42), Roane (86), Summers (49), Taylor (84), Tucker (8), Tyler (15), Upshur (81), Wayne (155), Webster (49), Wetzel (44), Wirt (22), Wood (332), Wyoming (84).

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