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West Virginia reported 556 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as active cases increased slightly to 1,855. That’s one more active case than was reported Tuesday, according to the Department of Health and Human Resources coronavirus dashboard.

To date, 7,016 residents have died from COVID-19 infections, including three deaths reported overnight. More than 84% of deaths that have occurred in the state since vaccinations became available in January 2021 have been people who are unvaccinated.

COVID-19 hospitalization information was not updated on the dashboard by press time Wednesday. As of Tuesday, 203 residents were hospitalized for COVID-19, including four children. Of those in the hospital, 25 patients — including two children — were in intensive care units and four patients were receiving care on ventilators.

Nearly 52% of those hospitalized were unvaccinated. That rate was the same for those in the ICU, according to the dashboard. All four patients on ventilators are vaccinated. It’s unclear whether those considered “fully vaccinated” have received recommended booster doses, as the state does not report hospitalization data with that information.

Being fully vaccinated and boosted is still the most effective way to prevent severe illness, hospitalization or death from COVID-19.

About 57% of eligible West Virginians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with another 9% of those eligible report being partially vaccinated. Of those fully vaccinated, about 50% have received a booster dose.

Booster doses are available to anyone 5 and older who previously received an initial round of an mRNA vaccine at least five months ago, or the Johnson & Johnson one-shot two months ago. Second booster doses are recommended for individuals over 50 years old and for those with underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus.

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