CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and state officials reported some troubling COVID-19 statistics during Friday’s virtual briefing.
Due to COVID restrictions, more than 1,000 hospital workers in West Virginia were unable to work Friday, officials said.
COVID rates in state correctional facilities and jails have jumped up, with 519 inmates and 179 staff currently positive, Justice said.
“I can’t recall seeing it worse than that,” Justice said while looking at the state’s County Alert map, which shows every county in the state is “red” or “orange,” except for Tucker County, which is “yellow.”
“I still strongly encourage vaccination,” Justice said. “If you got both of your shots or one shot of J&J, how in the world can you not get your booster shot? Somebody tell me the logic behind that. What in the world are we waiting on?” the governor went on.
Gov. Justice also encouraged residents to get flu vaccinations, mentioning that both his daughter and her husband have COVID and his daughter has tested positive for the flu, as well.
When asked about a proposal in the West Virginia State Legislature that would ban mask and testing mandates in state schools, the governor said that he believes in local control and that local officials have largely made good decisions throughout the pandemic. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Justice said, concluding that he will make a decision should the bill pass and come to his desk.
Justice also mentioned that he will give the State of the State address on January 27, after postponing the address earlier this month, when he contracted COVID.
The governor also took a moment to recognize a 17-year-old Mountaineer Challenge Academy graduate, from Preston County, who was recently appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.