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James Hoyer, director of the state COVID-19 interagency task force, speaks during a COVID-19 briefing on May 10, 2021. 

While active COVID-19 cases in the West Virginia continue to hover around 6,500, the daily percent positivity rate hit 10.08% on Monday, the highest it’s been since Oct. 31.

That is compounded with stalled vaccinations and, among other things, an increased rate of transmission in the state — up to 0.95 on Monday, according to James Hoyer, head of the state interagency task force.

Active cases totaled 6,436 on Monday according to the dashboard, a 291-case decrease from Friday. There were 4,636 COVID-19 associated deaths in the state as of Monday, with 26 of those reported overnight.

Nearly 49.5% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated against the virus as of Monday, totaling 840,756 individuals — 179 fewer than the dashboard reported Thursday.

Vaccinations among children ages 5 to 11 are on the rise in the state, with 3,565 individuals having received at least one dose by Monday. That’s more than double the count from Friday.

Booster doses are slowly being administered with 50,791 total given in the state as of Monday, nearly 2,000 more than Friday.

State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad said that while the governor’s messaging on booster doses does not necessarily align with federal policy, West Virginians in general are recommended to get the shots in her opinion. Federal agencies say people over 18 who live with certain pre-existing conditions or who are regularly exposed to the virus should receive the booster.

Those conditions, Amjad said, are broad and include a number of comorbidities that are widespread in West Virginia, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tobacco and nicotine usage, among others.

“Most of our population would qualify, so I would agree that everyone who needs to get their booster shot needs to go out there and get it,” Amjad said. “Everyone in our population who got their first and second dose needs to go out and get their booster shot right now.”

COVID-19 vaccinations in the state have increased this week compared to a month ago, with an average of 1,591 doses administered each of the last seven days. For the week of Oct. 16, there were an average of 800 doses administered per day.

Hospitalizations remained steady Monday despite Hoyer saying that an average of 50 people per day are being admitted for COVID-19 in the state. According to the dashboard, 529 people were hospitalized Monday, with 171 in an intensive care unit and 89 of those patients receiving care on a ventilator.

A majority — 72.4% — of hospital patients are unvaccinated. Of those in an ICU, 82% are unvaccinated. That increases to 85% for patients on ventilators.

The state’s cumulative percent positivity — which tracks the rate of positive cases compared to total tests given since the beginning of the pandemic — hit 6.15% on Saturday and remained there Monday, the highest it’s reached since tests began being utilized in March 2020.

While the dashboard reported 31 active outbreaks at long term care facilities on Monday, Gov. Jim Justice said during his Monday news briefing there were 39. Nicholas County, he said, was home to several church-related outbreaks.

State officials urged anyone over the age of 18 to get a booster shot or talk to their doctor if they have questions about receiving a booster. They also requested individuals get their flu shots if they haven’t already.

Caity Coyne covers health. She can be reached at 304-348-7939 or caity.coyne@hdmediallc.com. Follow @CaityCoyne on Twitter.

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