WV sets weekly virus case record; corrections officer dies

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia has reported a weekly record in the number of positive coronavirus cases entering the new year.

The state had at least 6,915 confirmed virus cases for the six-day period last week, excluding Sunday, according to health statistics. Officials have cautioned that figures could be skewed due to a lag in reporting cases over the Christmas holiday period. Sunday’s cases won’t be reported until Monday.

Still, the state had its three highest daily figures last week since the start of the pandemic: at least 1,385 positive cases Tuesday, 1,618 Wednesday and 1,516 Thursday.

Last week’s cases marked the ninth weekly record in the past 13 weeks. The previous record of 6,871 positive cases was set two weeks ago.

There also were a record 810 people hospitalized for the virus on Friday. As of Saturday there were a record 27,418 active cases of the virus statewide, up 57% in the past month.

There have been at least 1,376 virus-related deaths statewide. Officials announced Sunday that an officer at the Saint Marys Correctional Center in Pleasants County died Saturday while under treatment for COVID-19. Cpl. Mark Rustemeyer, 58, had worked at the prison since 1998.

The prison has 253 active cases of the virus.

It marked the first virus-related death of a state corrections employee.

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