CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “Until we really make up our mind to run to the fire and get vaccinated, there’s going to be more die, maybe lots more die,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said at the head of Wednesday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing.

While reporting 32 new deaths since Monday, Justice said: “this thing is doing anything but getting better and as long as we have a significant population that’s unvaccinated, it’s going to continue to get worse.”

“It’s (the vaccine) so safe, it’s unbelievable. You don’t need to die and you don’t need to get sick to make a point,” the governor went on to say. “It all comes down to getting vaccinated West Virginia,” said Ret. Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer, while reporting that COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU stays are nearly back to the pandemic peak.

Mask & Vaccine Mandates

Of the state’s 55 counties, 26 of them have instituted school mask mandates, Justice reported. However, the governor said that he still does not believe that “we need to move on” a mask mandate, but he does still encourage residents 65 and above to wear masks. Justice also reiterated that he doesn’t see a need to mandate vaccinations for state employees, at this time.

Do it for Babydog Round 2:

The first drawing in the second round of the Do it for Babydog vaccine sweepstakes will happen on Thursday. There are 160,000 people currently registered, Justice said.