Governor Jim Justice ...

Governor Jim Justice speaks during a virtual pandemic briefing Tuesday morning.


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Governor Jim Justice incorrectly reported Tuesday that a 66-year-old woman from Mercer County had died as a result of COVID-19.

But the woman was actually from Raleigh County, local and state officials confirmed later in the day.

There was a lot of confusion earlier in the day Tuesday, after a press release issued by West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch also reported the death of a 66-year-old woman from Mercer County as one of five new COVID-19 deaths in the state. But the DHHR's online dashboard was still showing only 24 deaths for Mercer County, and not 25.

Allison C. Adler, director of communications for the DHHR, later confirmed the error.

"The death should be attributed to Raleigh County instead of Mercer," Adler said.

Brenda Donithan, interim administrator of the Mercer County Health Department, said the woman was initially reported as being from Mercer County, but was in fact from Raleigh County.

Donithan said a computer glitch, or an incorrect patient registration, may have led to the initial error.

"It turned out to be Raleigh County," Donithan said.

— Contact Charles Owens at

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