West Virginia breaks record for new confirmed virus cases
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia has set a record for newly confirmed coronavirus cases as infections, deaths and hospitalizations surge in the state, according to health data released Friday.
The state recorded 182 new cases Thursday, the highest daily total since the outbreak began. Officials also reported record highs in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, intensive care unit patients and virus ventilator use.
Republican Gov. Jim Justice renewed his call for residents to wear masks and urged people to take the virus seriously as it surges within West Virginia and in surrounding states. Still, he declined to reimpose additional virus restrictions Friday, but did not rule out such measures if metrics continue to climb.
"It may be that we need to start backing up and backing up in a more aggressive way," Justice said, though he added "we're not there yet."
Confirmed cases in West Virginia have more than doubled in the past month to around 6,600 infections, as the state tries to contain outbreaks at nursing homes, among young people and from travel. Deaths have also risen in recent days to at least 116 total.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.