By Erin Beck
Health officials have reported the 22nd death of a Pendleton County resident due to COVID-19.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported the death of a 94-year-old Pendleton County woman in a news release April 21.
“Each death reported is a solemn reminder of the seriousness of this disease,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR cabinet secretary. “Let’s continue taking every precaution we can to stop the spread of COVID, including vaccination and booster shots.”
Health officials have reported a significant increase in coronavirus deaths among county residents in recent months. Earlier this month, officials reported three deaths in county residents within a seven-day period. Four of 22 deaths – 18 percent of coronavirus deaths in the county – were reported in less than a month’s time. Governor Jim Justice declared the pandemic an emergency more than two years ago.
Health officials say 49% of the county is fully vaccinated, while 29.1% have received booster doses. Older people in the county are more likely to have received their booster doses – 75.2% of people 71 and older have been fully vaccinated, while 59.2% have received a booster dose.
Of 21 deaths since vaccinations became available in Dec. 2020, 18 were among people 51 and older who were not fully vaccinated, while three were “breakthrough deaths” of people 71 and older.
Younger people, who are less likely to die from the disease, can also experience severe health outcomes, including hospitalization or symptoms of long COVID-19, and can pass the disease on to others, including older people. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 768 youth up to age 17 have been in the hospital statewide with the disease.