CHARLESTON, W.Va. – While West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice reported at Tuesday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing that the state’s COVID-19 numbers are showing improvement, but he and state health officials also pointed out that the numbers of deaths and patients in ICUs and on ventilators are still high.

Justice also pointed out that the average age of COVID deaths in the state has dropped, from 71 in August to 67 in October.

Since vaccinations began in West Virginia, 92% of deaths have been among the unvaccinated, Ret. Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer reported. Hoyer went on to warn that colder weather could bring on another COVID surge. If that surge comes, the unvaccinated and older residents who don’t get boosters will “pay the price,” Hoyer went on.

“If you’re over 65 and you’re in really crowded place and you’re not fully vaccinated, you’re cocking a gun at your head, that’s all there is to it,” Gov. Justice followed up.

The governor continued to encourage residents to get booster shots, noting that Moderna and Johnson & Johnson versions are now available and different brands can be mixed and matched.

Justice also pointed out that an increase in the number of fully-vaccinated people who end up hospitalized with COVID shows the need for booster shots 76% unvaccinated, medical experts have explained co-mobidities

State health officials expect a federal-level decision, soon, on vaccines for five to 12-year-olds, with shots possibly being given as soon as November 3, they said. With that in mind, the state has ordered 50,000 doses for younger children. The state is ready to give the shots as soon as approval is granted, Hoyer said.

Gov. Justice also took a few minutes to answer questions related to news last week that there was some interest from legislators in western Maryland, in having the counties they represent, join West Virginia. The governor admitted that a move would be “a great big uphill climb.” He continued: “The best people on the planet are right here in West Virginia today.” It would take “a dumb bunny” to not want to come to West Virginia, Justice went on.