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W.Va., Ohio continue to call on residents to get vaccinated

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 11:32 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va., COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTAP) - For the first time in several months, governors of both West Virginia and Ohio held briefings on COVID-19 on the same day. And the issue was also the same: the Delta Variant and vaccinations.

In less than a month, cases in West Virginia have risen from less than 1,000 in early June to above 3,000 in the past week-and total statewide deaths are approaching 3,000. That, according to the coronavirus.wv.gov website.

And while the statewide county map was all “green” just a couple of weeks ago, five counties are now “red”. In our area, only Pleasants County is “green”.

Wood and Jackson counties are “gold”. Ritchie and Wirt counties are “yellow”. The number of active hospitalizations in West Virginia is now 210, up from 185 Wednesday. Of those currently hospitalized, nearly a third are in the ICU.

And Gov. Jim Justice and health experts agree: the culprit is the expanding Delta Variant, with 129 confirmed cases statewide.

”We, in our last sequencing run, have seen that the Delta Variant accounted for 91% of the new viruses that we were able to sequence,” said coronavirus expert Dr. Clay Marsh. “So it is continuing to grow.”

The governor Friday continued to call on residents to get vaccinated. The extended deadline to register for the “Do It For Babydog” vaccination sweepstakes is this Sunday.

“We’re starting to see a more rapid increase,” Gov. Justice said. “There needs to be more and more concern about getting yourself vaccinated because we’re running out of time.”

The Delta variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Ohio. In May, less than 1% of lab sequenced cases were identified as the Delta variant. The most recent data from July 4th through July 17th, show that 86.4% of lab sequenced cases were the Delta variant.

For those who get infected with the Delta variant, experts say they may have a higher viral load than those who are infected with other strains. It is much more contagious than any version of COVID-19 that we have encountered and remains exceedingly dangerous to those who are not vaccinated.

“Delta spreads like wildfire and seeks out anyone who is unvaccinated. But there is good news as two things remain very clear: First, the vaccines are the key to containing this fire and ultimately putting it out,” said Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D. “Secondly, vaccination is without any doubt your best bet, regardless of your age, for avoiding getting really sick with COVID-19 and to avoid lasting complications like Long Covid.”

Of the total hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients since January 1st, 18,367 individuals were not fully vaccinated. Just 295 patients had received the vaccine. Delta variant information will be available beginning today on the coronavirus.ohio.gov website and will be updated every Thursday.

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