CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The state has lost an additional 20 people to COVID-19, since Monday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice reported Wednesday morning.

There are now 511 people in hospitals, due to COVID, the highest amount since January, Justice also reported. The primary issue among West Virginia hospitals is staffing, Ret. Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer said. “How would you feel?” about unvaccinated people who were taking up space in hospitals, if your loved one had a heart attack or stroke, Justice asked.


The overwhelming majority of deaths and ICU patients are unvaccinated, Justice said. “It is the most miserable death you can imagine. There is nothing in your life that you are doing today that is as important as getting vaccinated,” the governor said.

While 6,100 more residents have been vaccinated since Monday, it’s not happening at a high enough rate, Justice continued. “We need you to come by the tens of thousands and come right now,” the governor urged.

Possibility of Mask Mandates:

While he is trying to “let local rule stand,” when it comes to mask mandates, the governor warned that soon he won’t be able to do that and could be forced to resume the mandates, starting with schools. “If we keep going the way we’re going, it’s almost inevitable,” he said. Justice has not yet pulled the trigger on a mandate, because he still does not have “enough evidence that masks will curtail it in a significant enough way,” he explained.

Dr. Clay Marsh offered some advice for choosing a mask. If you hold a mask up to light and you can see light through it, it won’t be effective, Marsh said. Wearing the mask correctly, fully over your nose and mouth, is also very important, Marsh stressed.

Booster Shot Update:

Gov. Justice also said that the state is still waiting on an answer from the federal government on when booster shots can begin being administered. Justice believes the boosters are needed now in West Virginia the state was ahead of the rest of country in getting first shots out, he said.