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Kanawha County reported the “largest [COVID-19] spike seen in recent weeks” Thursday as active cases and hospitalizations also increased statewide, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Kanawha County said in a news release that it recorded 91 new COVID-19 cases Thursday. Case rates in the county and across the state have been steadily growing since the beginning of May.

“This is especially concerning as we are entering the time of year where people are attending more events and large gatherings, which could add to the community spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Steven Eshenaur, health officer and executive director at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. “We recommend vigilance in mask-wearing in crowds and using good hand hygiene.”

West Virginia reported 734 new COVID-19 cases Thursday as active cases statewide increased to 2,256. That’s 99 more active cases than were reported Wednesday, according to the DHHR website’s coronavirus dashboard.

To date, 6,942 residents have died from COVID-19 infections, including nine deaths reported overnight. More than 85% of COVID-19 deaths that have occurred in the state since vaccinations became available in January 2021 have been people who were unvaccinated, according to the DHHR dashboard.

As of Thursday, 143 West Virginians — including eight children — were hospitalized because of COVID-19. That’s five more patients than were reported Wednesday. Of those hospitalized, 27 patients — including three children — were in intensive care units, and 10 patients — including one child — were receiving care on ventilators.

About 41% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. That decreased to 37% unvaccinated for those in the ICU and to 30% unvaccinated for patients on ventilators.

Being fully vaccinated and boosted is still the most effective way to prevent severe illness, hospitalization or death from COVID-19, health officials say. About 57% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and another 9% report being partially vaccinated. Of those fully vaccinated, about 50% have received a booster dose.

Booster doses are available to anyone age 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 people over 50 years old and for those with underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus.

Caity Coyne covers health. She can be reached at 304-348-7939 or caity.coyne@hdmediallc.com. Follow @Caity

Coyne on Twitter.

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