CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “You need to get yourself vaccinated right this very minute if you’re not. You’re taking one hell of a chance,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice warned at the beginning of Friday’s COVID-19 briefing.
The captain of his West Virginia State Police security detail, who is not only fully vaccinated, but has had a booster shot, recently tested positive for COVID-19, Justice said. The governor and his wife were then tested, getting negative results, he said.
Of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, in West Virginia, 82% are unvaccinated, Ret. Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer said. To help ease the stress on state hospitals, Hoyer encouraged people with medical needs that are not emergencies to use urgent care of other clinics, instead of going to emergency rooms.
Due to the high number of cases and staffing issues, state officials are instructing local health departments to focus contact tracing on only the people closest to those who have tested positive.
Justice reported that 19 schools in the state are closed due to COVID and 30 county school systems have mask mandates. However, the governor says “we still are on hold as far as any mandates. One size does not fit all in this.” It’s a decision he is “wrassling with,” Justice said, again citing a desire to keep the state “together.” The governor again encouraged older people to wear masks.
The governor also recapped his trip around the state, handing out the first set of prizes from round two of the Do it for Babydog vaccine lottery, sharing an anecdote about Babydog getting to enjoy some cake, during a stop in Princeton.