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W.Va. reaches new high record of hospitalizations, while case totals decline quickly

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 2:54 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - As COVID-19 case numbers begin to fall quickly, hospitalizations hit a new record high in West Virginia Wednesday, reaching exactly 1,000 according to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.

“For the first time ever, we have 1,000 people in the hospital in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said Wednesday during a press briefing updating the public on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(We’re) seeing a lot of pressure on the children’s hospitals for admission. It’s COVID but it’s also other respiratory issues,” Jim Kaufman, president and CEO of the West Virginia Hospital Association said. “The bottom line here in West Virginia, the total number of pediatric admissions for COVID, is very, very small.”

Kaufman said Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is one of the respiratory infections they’re seeing earlier than a typical year.

“They are seeing an earlier RSV season, a little bit stronger than usual and that’s one of the concerns,” Kaufman told WSAZ. “This year, a couple of the folks that I talked to believe that’s part of why you’re seeing an earlier RSV season and more cases coming in, especially on some of the smaller toddlers, they weren’t exposed to any of it last year.”

The hospital association said due to protection reasons, they could not release the exact number of child hospitalizations linked to COVID-19.

“When you’re talking the under 17 population, the number of kids that are being admitted are really small so that’s why we’re very careful on that,” he said. “While you’re seeing the total number of cases increase I think the academy is reporting about 25 percent of all COVID cases nationally are kids. What we are seeing on the hospitalizations are relatively small, most of the people that we’re seeing hospitalized are over the age of 50.”

Kaufman said when it comes to hospital staff, there are roughly 500 employees that are out due to quarantines or testing positive for COVID-19.

“Right now, when we’re looking at the number of patients that we’re serving, the hospitals’ resources are really being stretched, any number of clinical staff out puts a limitation on the hospitals that are serving their patient community.”

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