West Virginia passed some grim new milestones last Friday, including COVID-19 deaths, while the state trails the nation with people opposed to vaccinations.|
As of Friday, the COVID-19 death toll stood at 4,426, with 3,309 deaths since vaccines became available. Of those, 252 deaths were breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated residents, according to the Department of Health and Human Resources. That leaves 3,057 likely preventable deaths, had those people been fully vaccinated.
James Hoyer, state interagency task force director, said during Fridayâs COVID-19 briefing that unvaccinated people account for more than 92% of total COVID-19 deaths, 83% of intensive care patients and 87% of critically ill patients on ventilators.
âIn that remaining percentage, these are folks that are older and have multiple comorbidities,â he said of the breakthrough deaths, which account for less than 8% of COVID-19 deaths.
Hoyer and Dr. Clay Marsh, the stateâs COVID-19 czar and vice president for health sciences at West Virginia University, said the death rates for unvaccinated residents are evidence of the urgent need for West Virginians to get vaccinated, and for the fully vaccinated to get booster shots.