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BLOX covid symbol

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January shows the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

HUNTINGTON — West Virginia marked a grim milestone Thursday as it surpassed 4,000 deaths related to COVID-19.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reported 50 new virus-related deaths, for a total of 4,048 deaths attributed to the virus.

Among the deaths reported Thursday were two people from Cabell County — a 60-year-old man and 25-year-old man. The county has reported 251 deaths related to the virus.

The death of a 67-year-old man from Wayne County was also reported Thursday. That county has reported 70 virus-related deaths.

“Every life lost to this pandemic is a tragedy, and we offer our sincere condolences to these families,” Bill J. Crouch, secretary of the DHHR, said in a release.

DHHR also reported 1,264 new cases, for a total of 257,042. There were 9,904 active cases statewide.

Active cases per county are: Barbour (88), Berkeley (660), Boone (148), Braxton (62), Brooke (67), Cabell (464), Calhoun (37), Clay (43), Doddridge (63), Fayette (217), Gilmer (43), Grant (66), Greenbrier (142), Hampshire (145), Hancock (157), Hardy (73), Harrison (676), Jackson (221), Jefferson (202), Kanawha (848), Lewis (118), Lincoln (141), Logan (150), Marion (478), Marshall (182), Mason (120), McDowell (138), Mercer (329), Mineral (186), Mingo (152), Monongalia (328), Monroe (53), Morgan (93), Nicholas (191), Ohio (176), Pendleton (25), Pleasants (25), Pocahontas (32), Preston (280), Putnam (336), Raleigh (377), Randolph (83), Ritchie (65), Roane (83), Summers (21), Taylor (99), Tucker (28), Tyler (35), Upshur (116), Wayne (219), Webster (65), Wetzel (77), Wirt (45), Wood (474) and Wyoming (162).

Activities suspended

Greek life activity at Marshall University has been paused for 10 days following a spike in coronavirus cases in some of the student organizations, the university said Thursday afternoon.

The decision was made out of an abundance of caution to protect Marshall and Huntington communities, the statement said. Contact tracing is underway. Up-to-date information from the university is available on the COVID-19 dashboard at www.marshall.edu/coronavirus/dashboard.

Marshall’s campus vaccination rate is just over 80%. As of Thursday afternoon, the dashboard reported new cases from 38 students and six staff members since Sept. 30.

Greek members who are not vaccinated and were exposed to a positive person will be quarantined for 10 days, said Tracy Smith, Marshall University’s director of environmental health and safety.

“In addition to the quarantines and isolation of positives, we will be testing everyone who was exposed,” Smith said. “Additionally, we will be testing all members regardless of vaccine status each week for the next three weeks. Overall, our students have done a wonderful job keeping healthy and safe this semester; it’s unfortunate, but this decision is in the best interest of our community.”

Earlier this year, the university sent a cease-and-desist order to student Greek organizations after reports were made that alleged violations of the university COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Still in red zone

In Kentucky, 52 coronavirus-related deaths and 2,305 new virus cases were reported Thursday.

Roughly 594 of the new cases were in children and teens aged 18 and under.

The state’s test positivity rate has fallen to 7.91%. The positivity rate is an indicator of the extent of the spread of the virus, according to the World Health Organization. If the rate is less than 5% for two weeks and testing is widespread, the virus is considered under control.

More than 1,300 virus patients were hospitalized in Kentucky, including 398 being treated in intensive care units, the state said. A total of 167 intensive care unit beds were available statewide Thursday, a sign that hospitals continue to contend with the Bluegrass State’s surge of cases caused by the delta variant.

Almost all of Kentucky’s 120 counties are reported to be in the red zone — the most serious category for COVID-19 incidence rates. People in those counties are asked to follow stricter recommended guidelines to contain the virus.

For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the virus.

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