CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDVM) — On Thursday, Los Angeles County announced it would be renewing its indoor mask mandate for everyone — vaccinated or not. The news is causing many people to ask the question: will my state or county be next?
West Virginia repealed its mask mandate less than a month ago on the state’s birthday, June 20. But could the rise in cases bring the mandate back?
Despite being a leader in vaccination early in the rollout effort, West Virginia now has one of the least-vaccinated populations in the nation, according to CDC data — just under 39% of Mountain State residents were fully vaccinated as of Friday.
Compared to Los Angeles County in California — a state that fully vaccinated over half of its population — West Virginia is far behind, causing many to believe a renewed mask mandate is right around the corner.
But Gov. Jim justice said West Virginia “is not Los Angeles”, and he has no plans to reinstate masking rules at this time.
“I pray to god above that we never have to consider such a thing ever again,” said Gov. Justice.
His team is also advocating for people to decide whether wearing a mask is right for themselves.
“If you’re going into environments where you feel at-risk or you don’t know everybody — big crowds — then wearing a mask is a very reasonable decision. Staying distanced as much as you can, washing your hands, and just being careful,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s COVID-19 czar.
West Virginia had only identified 19 cases of the delta variant within the state as of Friday.
UPDATE (7/19/21, 1:44 p.m.): Added attribution to quota data.