West Virginia reports record one-day spike in virus deaths

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in West Virginia pushed past 1,000 with the announcement Tuesday of a record 34 deaths.

Health officials said the deaths broke the one-day mark of 31 deaths reported last Wednesday.

At least 1,012 people in West Virginia have died from the virus since the pandemic began. The number of deaths has more than doubled since early November, along with virus-related hospitalizations.

The number of virus patients in hospitals reached 774 as of Monday. That’s up 124, or 19%, in the past week alone. That includes a record 207 patients in hospital intensive care units, up from 180 a week earlier.

There are more than 21,000 active cases of the virus in the state.

The state began administering a vaccine for the virus on Monday, focusing on health care workers and people in long-term care centers. Gov. Jim Justice and other top state officials received the vaccine as well.

West Virginia officials say they wanted to demonstrate their confidence in the vaccine, but many other governors are waiting for health care workers, patients and emergency responders first.