CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice felt he needed to keep his every other day schedule for his virtual COVID-19 briefings going on Christmas Day.
Reading the 55 latest COVID-19 deaths in the state was reason enough to hold the briefing, Justice said. If he waited until Monday, Justice would’ve probably had more than 100 deaths to read, he said.
The briefing was about an hour shorter than the usual sessions, with one reason being that the governor did not take questions from the media.
On the state’s color-coded map, 49 of the 55 counties are “red” or “orange” and West Virginia’s reproductive rate is the second worst in the country, Justice reported.
With schools out for the holidays, the state will not release its usual Saturday education map, Gov. Justice said.
The state’s high rate of vaccination, still the highest in the nation, will allow West Virginia to press the federal government for more doses, Maj. General James Hoyer said.
After initially focusing vaccinations on the state’s long term care facilities, efforts will now target the healthcare workers who are giving the vaccine to others.
“Quit coming up with silly reasons not to take the vaccine,” the governor urged those who aren’t convinced they will take it.
Holiday Greetings & Thanks:
The governor wished everyone a “Merry Christmas,” thanked frontline workers and asked state residents to also thank and support these workers.
He also brought one of his dogs, “Baby Dog,” with him to the briefing, saying she gave him a reason to smile.