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West Virginia hits new weekly record for virus cases, deaths

Staff Writer
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Mineral Daily News-Tribune

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia reported a record high of 6,211 new confirmed coronavirus cases the past week along with 109 deaths.

The virus surge is not abating amid the holiday season and a week before the first vaccine shots are hoped to arrive in the state. Cases for the week of Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 are 18% higher than the previous record set last month.

Deaths also hit a record, jumping 15% over the week before. The state has had a total of at least 841 deaths linked to COVID-19 and 47,242 total confirmed cases.

In 28 of the state's 55 counties, schools are virtual-only due to the severity of virus spread. Republican Gov. Jim Justice has resisted closing schools statewide, saying he wants to keep public life open as much as possible with mask wearing.

But he admitted Monday that increased testing is not stemming outbreaks. The rate of people testing positive is increasing, up to 7.24%.

"The testing is really really helping us, but it's not enough," he said.

Justice has said the first Pfizer shots are expected to arrive Dec. 15 for health care workers and people in long-term care centers if it receives federal emergency use authorization this week.

Between Pfizer's vaccine and another one developed by Moderna, Justice expects 21,000 doses to ship weekly later this month. Top of the priority list are the over 100,000 people who work in health care, live or work in long-term centers, or are first responders and public health officials.