CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice held his first COVID-19 briefing, Monday, since he, himself contracted COVID.

Justice began the briefing wearing a mask, but explained that he was in his office by himself and promptly took it off. “It’s been a little bit difficult, that’s for sure,” the governor began. “I’ll promise you, this is something that no one wants to get,” he continued.

Gov. Justice described that as he was writing the State of the State address, he noticed that he had scratchy throat, then a headache, and then chills. He got a rapid test, which came back negative, but he then developed a fever. The governor then tested positive through a PCR test, he said. Doctors believe his infection was the Omicron variant, which now make up 82% of COVID cases in the state, Dr. Clay Marsh reported.

Justice noted how infectious the variant is, saying that he got it, despite all the precautions he takes.

The governor was treated with antibodies quickly, but described the first days of his illness as “tough. It was plenty serious enough for me, but could’ve been really, really bad.”

Justice followed that up by continuing to encourage vaccinations and booster shots: “If I hadn’t had these vaccines, I think I would’ve really been in tough shape, because this is bad stuff and if you don’t believe that, there’s nothing else I can do to convince you, cause it was nasty and it was tough, tough for a couple of days.” Of the 5,535 West Virginians who’ve died of COVID were unvaccinated, Justice said.

The governor thanked residents for all of their well-wishes and prayers, during his illness.

Justice also reported that 115 West Virginia National Guardsmen have been deployed at hospitals around the state.

State officials explained that the state’s “County Alert” map on the DHHR’s coronavirus dashboard has not been working due to CDC changes to its guidance on the length of recovery that is necessary. Officials hope to have it fixed this week, they said.