CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two people have died from a coronavirus outbreak at a West Virginia nursing home, according to Gov. Jim Justice, who also expressed concern Wednesday over a bump in virus cases along the state’s southern and western borders.
“We have got to realize that this thing is a killer,” the Republican governor said at a news conference. "Absolutely, we have got to do all that we possibly can, each and every one of us. We can’t drop our guard. We’ve got to stay on top of this."
Twenty people at the nursing home recently tested positive for the virus, bringing the total since March to 19 residents and 23 staff, he said.
Department of Health and Human Resoures Secretary Bill Crouch said Wednesday that contact tracing related to the nursing home outbreak shows some people had traveled to the hard-hit area of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
In the past week alone, there have been 50 more confirmed cases in Logan County and 49 in Mercer County, where the nursing home is located. Up until a week ago, those counties had a combined 129 confirmed cases.
“It'll be a miracle from God above if more of them don't die,” Justice said.
While 276 people at the nursing home were tested for the virus last week, the two deaths have prompted health officials to test them again, Justice said.
Confirmed cases in West Virginia have more than doubled in the past month. There have been at least 6,269 confirmed cases and 111 deaths, state health officials reported on their website Wednesday.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.