Apr. 8—BLUEFIELD — Health officials confirmed three new COVID-19 related deaths in the region Wednesday. Two are from Mercer County and the third death is from Tazewell County.
According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, two of the 15 new virus-related deaths reported by the state Wednesday were from Mercer County, a 62-year old female and an 83-year old female.
With the new two new deaths, the coronavirus death toll to date in Mercer County has now increased to 125.
These are the first new deaths to be reported in Mercer County in several days. The new deaths also come at a time when the Mercer County Health Department is reporting that more than 50 percent of the county's population has received at least one of the two required COVID-19 vaccine shots that are necessary to achieve maximum immunity. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the immunity achieved from the vaccine should last for up to six months.
"We mourn with these families, and all who have lost a loved one to COVID-19," DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch said Wednesday in announcing the new deaths.
Roger Topping, administrator of the Mercer County Health Department, didn't immediately return a message left Thursday by the Daily Telegraph regarding the two new deaths.
The number of active virus cases in Mercer County is still decreasing, despite the latest deaths.
Active virus cases on Wednesday in Mercer County stood at 144, which is down from 147 on Tuesday, according to the DHHR. But overall active cases in Mercer County are up slightly from a week ago when they stood at 140.
The Virginia Department of Health also reported a new virus-related death Wednesday in Tazewell County. In Virginia, health officials do not release the age or gender of those individuals who are counted as virus deaths.
Tazewell County's coronavirus death toll to date has now increased to 65.
COVID-19 also is still causing problems in area schools.
Tazewell County School Superintendent Christopher Stacy released new data Wednesday regarding students who have tested positive for the virus.
According to the report, six students in the Bluefield, Va., area have tested positive for COVID-19 and another 113 students in Bluefield, Va., are currently following a quarantine. Tazewell and Richlands are reporting one student each that is positive for the virus. There are 17 students currently in quarantine in Richlands and 13 in Tazewell, the report from Stacy said.
Mercer County Schools also confirmed positive COVID-19 cases Wednesday at Montcalm Elementary and Glenwood School. The school system said contact tracing has been completed and those individuals who were exposed will be quarantined. The school system said a deep cleaning and disinfection of both schools was underway.
— Contact Charles Owens at email@example.com