CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia is now seeing a record number of hospitalizations for COVID-19.
Part of that is due to ramped up testing, which is identifying more people who have the coronavirus. 306 people are hospitalized, 93 are in intensive care, and 34 are on ventilators. If there is a positive development, it’s that hospitals are not yet at capacity and can handle more patients.
“Specifically for Kanawha County, we have the capacity to go much bigger as far as the needs for ICU beds, ventilators, and hospital beds. Because we can also shut down some of the elective procedures and reroute some of our resources,” said Dr. Sherri Young, of the WV State Medical Association.
Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston has been designated as the state’s surge hospital, if other facilities are at capacity. So far, it has not been needed, but health officials says another surge in the next two or three weeks could change that. Meanwhile health advocates worry that people are letting their guard down, and not taking enough precautions.
“This is what I tell my employees and my students all the time. Wear a mask. You know if my seven-year old granddaughter can wear a mask, and you know, go to elementary school, we can wear masks,” said Dr. James Nemitz, President, of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
The DHHR says West Virginia still has more than 8-thousand active cases, including the 306 who remain hospitalized.
“Health officials keep advocating for testing and more testing. On any given day there are one or two dozen test sites across West Virginia. You can find the locations by going to the DHHR website,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.