WELCH — Health officials in McDowell County are reporting another death associated with COVID-19, the second virus-related death in the region this week.

“With a heavy heart the McDowell County Health Department has confirmed today, the 22nd death of a resident from complications related to COVID-19 in the county,” the McDowell County Health Department said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the patient’s family and friends.”

According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the 88-year-old female from McDowell County was one of nine virus-related deaths reported by the state Tuesday.

Another local virus-related death, a resident of Tazewell County, was confirmed by the Virginia Department of Health Monday. In Virginia, health officials do not release the age or gender of individuals whose deaths are contributed to COVID-19.

In neighboring Mercer County, where the COVID-19 death toll to date was recently reduced from 125 to 116 following a review of death certificates, active virus cases have doubled over the past month.

On March 26, Mercer County was down to 148 active virus cases. But on Tuesday, the county was reporting 309 active coronavirus cases.

In terms of the more contagious United Kingdom variant, Mercer County was still holding Tuesday at 11 confirmed cases of the U.K. variant. McDowell County is reporting eight cases of the U.K. variant and Monroe County is reporting four cases of the U.K. variant. The DHHR also is reporting two cases of the B.1. 429 California variant in Monroe County.

So far 20,333 people have received at least one vaccine dose in Mercer County, according to the DHHR. The state says 15,857 residents of Mercer county have received both doses and are fully vaccinated. However, the percentage of people in Mercer County receiving the vaccine has been dropping since late April, DHHR statistics show.

In McDowell County. 5,857 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far. The county’s current population is estimated at 17,624. In Monroe County, 4,448 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Monroe County’s current population is estimated at 13,275, according to the DHHR.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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