As CDC heightens mask recommendations, Justice points to worrisome W.Va. trends

With the  CDC now recommending that fully vaccinated people wear face coverings in areas with high transmission of covid-19, Gov. Jim Justice and his advisers again urged West Virginians to get vaccinated.

“If we don’t curb this thing and start getting toward more and more of our folks vaccinated, I would say the recommendations are going to get even more severe,” Justice said.

The Centers for Disease Control also recommended today that all students in kindergarten through 12th grade should wear masks when they return to schools this fall.

The CDC’s guidance for unvaccinated people has been to continue masking until they are fully vaccinated.

West Virginia’s governor made clear that he is nowhere near ordering another West Virginia mask mandate or a stay home order.

“No cause for super alarm. No cause to think we’re going to run back and be putting our masks on,” Justice said.

“But there’s good cause to absolutely be concerned and don’t drop your guard.”

Although key numbers are not where they were at the height of the pandemic, several are on the rise.

The governor noted that current active cases in West Virginia are at 1,656. A week ago, that number was 1,187. On Tuesday, July 6, it was 1,055.

“Not good, not good,” Justice said.

The governor pointed out that hospitalizations because of covid-19 have risen to 111. That is down significantly from the height of the pandemic but on the rise recently.

James Hoyer

James Hoyer, leader of the state’s joint agency task force, today noted that this is Day 501 of the pandemic response. He urged  people to get vaccinated to help draw the response closer to a conclusion.

“We don’t want to be in Day 601 or Day 701 of this response. Thank you,” Hoyer said.

State statistics showed that fewer than half of West Virginia’s population — 875,802 people — are fully vaccinated.

The percentage improves through upper age categories. For instance, 78.8 percent of West Virginians older than age 65 are fully vaccinated.

“There is an indicator that will really move the needle on people getting vaccinated,” Justice said during today’s briefing.

“The indicator is really simple. If people start dropping like flies and you start seeing body bag after body bag, you can bet your boots people will run to get vaccinated.”

Over the pandemic, West Virginia has recorded 2,936 deaths so far from covid-19.

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