FILE - Hospital beds

(The Center Square) – West Virginia had its worst day for COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic over the weekend with more than 1,800 confirmed cases.

The new record comes as hospitalizations, ICU patients and ventilator use for COVID-19 are surpassing pandemic heights from last year, before the vaccine was available. State health officials have attributed the poor numbers to low vaccination rates compared to the rest of the country.

West Virginia has 27,607 active cases, 852 hospitalizations, 267 people in the ICU and 162 people on ventilators. These numbers began to increase in July and have continued to steadily go up throughout August and September. More than 30 people died over the weekend.

In a news conference, Gov. Jim Justice urged people to get vaccinated and highlighted a story of a young man who is currently hospitalized with COVID-19. He said the virus can affect people young and old.

“If this dreaded disease can take down this tremendous athlete, a man that is strong beyond belief, and very young in years, can it not take us all down? That’s what this testimony is all about,” Justice said. “By having the courage to share this story, this is a family that has absolutely stepped up to try to help all of us.”

Younger people rarely die or become seriously ill from COVID-19, but the risk increases if a person is older or has a compromised immune system or other health complications. Vaccination rates in the state are higher among the elderly and lower among younger people.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.