CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — For the second straight week, West Virginia has set a record for the number of weekly statewide confirmed coronavirus cases as officials continue to urge widespread testing.
The 1,644 positive cases reported from Oct. 12 through Sunday shattered the mark of 1,350 cases set in the previous week, according to the Department of Health and Human Resources website.
Gov. Jim Justice has pushed for more aggressive testing statewide over the past several weeks to identify people who otherwise may not be showing symptoms before they spread the virus to others.
The state surpassed 200 positive daily virus cases for the first time on Aug. 30. It has hit that mark 19 times since, including a record 334 cases last Thursday.
Critics say the increase in testing is aimed at lowering the rate of viruses in counties and thus enabling schools to reopen under a color-coded map. The map has five colors, depending on the severity of community transmission. Counties in red and orange cannot conduct in-person classes and sports competitions and other extracurricular activities are postponed.
West Virginia has reported at least 399 virus-related deaths. Statewide, there are at least 177 people hospitalized for the virus, down slightly from the record 180 last week.
The virus usually results in only mild to moderate symptoms but is particularly dangerous for the elderly and people with underlying health problems.
(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)