West Virginia hits record for daily COVID-19 cases

West Virginia set a record for daily COVID-19 cases Saturday with more than 1,800 confirmed infections, surpassing by more than 100 the previous daily high set more than nine months ago.

West Virginia reported 1,821 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The previous one-day high of more than 1,700 cases was set on Dec. 31, according to The Associated Press.

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The number of COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has been on the rise since the beginning of July, following a nationwide trend.

The state was averaging around 50 new daily cases in the beginning of July, before spiking to upwards of 1,500 in early September, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

The state and nationwide surge comes as the highly infectious delta variant continues to spread throughout the U.S.

The variant, which is more contagious than previous versions of the virus, is now the dominant strain in the U.S.

Vaccines, however, have proven to be an effective tool in protecting against severe COVID-19 illness. The majority of recent coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths have been among unvaccinated individuals.

Only 39.9 percent of West Virginians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which is tied with Wyoming for the second-worst state inoculation rate in the country, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced in June that the state would give away guns to residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 as an incentive to encourage the community to get inoculated.

He made another plea to get vaccinated last week, noting that hospitals in the state were filled with individuals who have not gotten their shots.

“Our hospitals are still overwhelmingly inundated with cases of people that are not vaccinated,” Justice said. 

“For God’s sake, how difficult is this to understand? What we should be doing is right there in front of us. We just need to use good sense and get ourselves vaccinated,” he added.