COVID cases and outbreaks in long-term care facilities on the rise

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June 7 – As new COVID cases continue to rise in the state, long-term care facilities are also affected, with Stonerise Princeton reporting a major outbreak.

According to the DHHR (Department of Health and Human Resources), the facility reported 58 employees and 19 residents tested positive, but no deaths were reported.

Gov. Jim Justice said during his pandemic briefing Monday that the state now has 80 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

“We know how infectious this product is,” he said of the new Omicron variant. “It can absolutely whiplash around us and lead to death. It’s very rare for a fully vaccinated and boosted person to die.”

Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s COVID-19 czar, said vaccines play an important role in reducing the risk of death and serious illness.

“It’s a different variant and much, much better able to evade our immune responses,” he said of Omicron BA2.12.1, now the dominant variant here and nationwide.

This is why vaccinations are essential, he said.

Retired Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, director of the state’s Joint Interagency Task Force, said he’s been working closely with the West Virginia Healthcare Association to go the extra mile to educate residents and families of long-term care on the importance of vaccinations, especially the booster shots.

“We will be watching this closely,” he said of the outbreaks.

Hoyer said the RT value, which measures the rate of community transmission (spread) of COVID bounces between 1 or just above 1, with 1 an indicator of “ongoing virus transmissions in our state.”

“We don’t want this thing to continue to slide and get worse,” Justice said. “Please make sure you’re up to date on your booster shots. Especially if you’re 50 or older, it’s so, so important.”

Boosters are crucial.

“If you’re out of that period, you have no immunity to speak at all,” Justice said. “You’re basically just flying it.”

On Monday, active cases again topped 2,500 with 1,701 new cases reported on Monday, and hospitalizations are again approaching 200, with DHHR reporting 192.

Mercer and McDowell counties are again in the yellow category on the state’s county alert system map as local cases have also increased.

Mercer County reported 159 new cases last week, according to DHHR, and McDowell County reported 25.

Justice also announced on Monday that a consulting contract had been awarded to McChrystal Group LLC, of ​​Alexandria, Va., to perform a “top-down organizational assessment of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.” (DHHR)”.

The review process will include developing a strategic plan for the organization and financial structure of DHHR, he said, and McChrystal Group provided a cost estimate of $503,648 for the organizational assessment. from DHHR and $578,770 to develop a strategic plan.

“There has been a lot of talk about DHHR over the past few weeks, he said. “The legislature passed a bill that would have split DHHR in two, but I said we needed to take a closer look before we moved too quickly and hurt a group of people.

“Organizational issues within DHHR didn’t start under my watch, but we can improve them. So we’re hiring a consultancy firm to do a thorough review, and we’ll stay in constant contact. with the Legislative to find the best possible solution.

The evaluation is scheduled to start on June 10 and will last 120 days, which means that the evaluation should be completed by October 8.

— Contact Charles Boothe at [email protected]

Contact Charles Boothe at [email protected]

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