CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, was full of concern.
A number of indicators: an increase in cases, 100 Delta variant cases and an increase in yellow and gold counties on the state’s map, have caused the governor’s concern.
“It’s going up and it’s going up significantly. The map is filling up with colors we don’t want, more than half of our counties are out of the green. It’s not good,” he said.
“I’ve got my gun up, I’ve got my safety off and I’ve got my finger on the trigger and I think I can see the enemy(the Delta variant) coming and I’m hesitant whether to shoot or not,” Justice continued.
State officials are evaluating PPE levels, hospital staffing and bed availability, nursing homes preventative measures and antibody supplies.
“We’ve gotta do something and do something really fast. We do not want to be alarmists,” Gov. Justice said, but made a point that he is not ready to move forward with a mask mandate yet.
The state is also starting a trial study, which officials are calling a “booster battlefield assessment.” The study will evaluate people, 60 and older, who first got the shots. It will include blood draws to check antibody levels. Officials will be asking for volunteers.
Further emphasizing the governor’s concern, he announced that he would be going back to holding COVID-19 briefings three days a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, instead of the two day a week schedule he went to in earlier May.
Given the briefing schedule change, the final “Do it for Babydog” vaccine sweepstakes winners will now be announced on Thursday, August 5.
On the positive side of things, Gov. Justice announced that Business Facilities magazine has ranked West Virginia as the state with the 10th best business climate, in the U.S. The publication cited the Virgin Hyperloop project in Tucker County and biometrics research going on at West Virginia University and the FBI in Clarksburg. You can read the full report here.