Osteopathic physicians call on Gov. Justice to issue statewide mask mandate


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — To limit the spread of the Delta variant, Leaders of the West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association (WVOMA) are calling on West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to provide “clear leadership,” along with a statewide mask mandate.

President of the WVOMA and medical director of the Putnam County Health Department, Dr. Michael Robie, wrote a letter to Gov. Justice requesting him to recognize “the increasingly difficult task our County Health Officers and community physicians face in recommending established public health measures to contain the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 within our state due to misinformation spread in our communities. This is occurring even at a time when new data…are available to support the clear benefit of masking, distancing, vaccination, quarantine, hygiene, ventilation and testing in containing and preventing COVID-19 outbreaks.”

Dr. Robie wrote that the challenges are leading the state further from the goal of containing the pandemic to keep children safely in school, maintain the workforce, prevent overcapacity and substandard care in hospitals and clinics, reduce the financial burden on institutions and reduce disparities.

Dr. Catherine Feaga, an osteopathic physician in Jefferson County and member of the WVOMA board of trustees, mentioned that county health officers have the experience, skills and commitment to their communities to help keep people safe and children safely in school, but they can’t do it alone.

“We ask the governor to fill those big shoes and bring us together as a state to fight this together,” Dr. Feaga wrote. “We have so much to be proud of and to let some virus tear us apart because we’re not listening to the folks who have the training and expertise to take us through this crying shame. That’s why we respectfully ask the governor to step up, support our community public health officers and set some real state-level guidance on beating this together.”

To view the full letter written to Gov. Justice, click here.

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