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Correction: First COVID-19 Death Misreported to DHHR

UPDATE: Michael Hicks, CEO of Sundale Long Term Care issued the following statement earlier today. 

“Last night, Sundale Long Term Care reported that a resident from our facility died. We have since learned that this individual did not pass away, as we originally believed. The individual has COVID-19 and is currently hospitalized in critical condition at a local hospital.

‘We sincerely apologize for the confusion and the erroneous reporting that was relayed to the local health department, Monongalia County Health Department, and ultimately to the state Department of Health and Human Resources, which reported the death in an official capacity. 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) confirmed the first West Virginian to die as a result of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state last night. 

The individual is a 76-year old male from Monongalia County, associated with the Sundale Long Term Care home in Morgantown and had underlying health conditions. To protect the patient’s privacy, no additional details will be released.

The DHHR also confirmed 27 new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been officially reported to the state, making the total positive case count at 76. New cases were identified in Berkeley, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Monongalia, Raleigh, Upshur and Wood counties.

The state breakdown of cases by county are four individuals from Berkeley County, four from Harrison County, five from Jackson County, four from Jefferson County, 15 from Kanawha County, one from Logan County, two from Marion County, three from Marshall County, one from Mason County, two from Mercer County, 24 from Monongalia County, one from Ohio County, one from Preston County, two from Putnam County, two from Raleigh County, two from Tucker County, one from Upshur County, and two from Wood County.

Following surveillance from several identified cases, the official case count changed for Ohio and Preston counties by one less as they were found to not be the county of residence of these individuals.

As of March 26, 2020, at 9:30 p.m., 1,855 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 76 positive, 1,779 negative and 43 tests pending (at state lab).

Since COVID-19 is a new disease, it is newly reportable to West Virginia’s public health system. Medical providers are required to report test results to their local health departments, which provide them to DHHR. Commercial (private) labs are also required to report test results to DHHR.  However, the reporting of negative and pending tests to DHHR has been inconsistent. Only DHHR’s state lab has consistently reported all its negative results and pending tests. DHHR is working with its public and private partners to ensure all required information is properly reported.