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West Virginia seeing record number of COVID infections

Still think we’re better off now than we were a year ago in dealing with COVID-19? Officials at our state’s hospitals will tell you you’re dead wrong. As of Friday, West Virginia was two patients short of the record high 818 hospitalized virus patients we had on Jan. 5 — before vaccination efforts were in full swing.

There were a near-record 250 virus patients in hospital intensive care units, and a record 151 patients on ventilators.

“Our hospitals are being stressed in ways that they haven’t been stressed before,” Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus expert, said. Hospitals are asking people to avoid unnecessary emergency room visits.

Elective procedures are being put off … even some very necessary surgeries are being rescheduled. Visitors are again being banned from some hospitals in the state.

As of Friday, West Virginia was averaging 1,555 new cases per day over the past seven days, up from 1,404 cases the previous seven-day period. Sixty-one deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in the past week.

During that seven-day span, more than 15% of all new infections were in children under age 12 — too young to get vaccinated, and depending on the rest of us to do the right thing.

Yet only about 59% of those who are eligible in the state are fully vaccinated. (Approximately 73% have received one dose.)

So while we’re talking all these numbers, here are two that should hit home — 85% of those hospitalized with the virus are unvaccinated; 89% of those in ICUs have not gotten the shots; and 91% of those on ventilators are unvaccinated.

We can do something about this. Those who are resisting vaccination, arguing against wearing masks AND trying to convince others to follow their poor example can do several things. Wash and sanitize your hands often. Don’t touch your face. Wear a mask. Maintain social distance. And get vaccinated.

Heck, you don’t even have to tell anyone about that last one.

Just get it done. No one has to know you did the right thing for yourself, your loved ones and your community.

But we’ll all be better off for it.

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