CHARLESTON — West Virginia will receive $1.88 million from the federal stimulus to track the spread of new COVID-19 variants in the state.
The state has so far confirmed cases of virus variants from the United Kingdom, California and Brazil, mostly concentrated in the northern part of the state and Eastern Panhandle. Some variants are seen as more infectious and deadly, and officials urge residents to get vaccinated in other to stamp out their spread.
“Several new COVID-19 variants have been found in West Virginia, which is concerning because of the higher rate of transmission and mortality,” Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said in a statement announcing the new funding.
The funding is allocated through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and aims to expand genomic sequencing to identify variants.
Statewide, 315 new COVID-19 cases were reported Tuesday, for a total of 149,462, and four new deaths, for a total of 2,789.
Total cases per county are: Barbour (1,352), Berkeley (11,667), Boone (1,886), Braxton (872), Brooke (2,124), Cabell (8,631), Calhoun (271), Clay (459), Doddridge (551), Fayette (3,284), Gilmer (738), Grant (1,239), Greenbrier (2,628), Hampshire (1,716), Hancock (2,714), Hardy (1,443), Harrison (5,449), Jackson (1,921), Jefferson (4,361), Kanawha (14,145), Lewis (1,138), Lincoln (1,399), Logan (3,007), Marion (4,169), Marshall (3,287), Mason (1,937), McDowell (1,490), Mercer (4,580), Mineral (2,775), Mingo (2,434), Monongalia (8,964), Monroe (1,077), Morgan (1,090), Nicholas (1,519), Ohio (4,050), Pendleton (690), Pleasants (833), Pocahontas (647), Preston (2,814), Putnam (4,833), Raleigh (6,181), Randolph (2,497), Ritchie (663), Roane (581), Summers (769), Taylor (1,199), Tucker (523), Tyler (673), Upshur (1,824), Wayne (2,821), Webster (456), Wetzel (1,213), Wirt (381), Wood (7,580) and Wyoming (1,917).
Cabell County reported 337 active cases Tuesday, while Wayne County reported 19.
In Kentucky, more than 600 new coronavirus cases and 13 more virus-related deaths were reported Tuesday as the governor continued urging people to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
The statewide rate of positive cases was 3.44%.
“As our case numbers seem to be plateauing, it’s more important than ever for us to make sure our vaccination numbers are rising consistently,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.
Last week, Beshear pledged to lift capacity and physical distancing restrictions for nearly all businesses, venues and events catering to 1,000 or fewer patrons once 2.5 million Kentuckians receive at least their first COVID-19 shot.
Once that vaccination threshold is achieved, “we can get back to more of the activities we enjoy and keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe,” the governor said.
Anyone 16 or older is eligible to be vaccinated in Kentucky.
The state reported 609 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday.
The 13 additional virus-related deaths included six that were discovered through the state’s audit of deaths from prior months to get a more comprehensive count of the death toll. Total virus-related deaths in Kentucky reached at least 6,360 since the pandemic began.
More than 410 virus patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including 121 in intensive care units.
In Ohio, nearly 1,800 new cases were reported, for a total of 1,056,606, with 19,024 total deaths.