Justice urges vaccinations and booster shots

Gov. Jim Justice recognized 110 West Virginians whose covid-19 deaths were identified since his most recent briefing.

“It’s staggering to think of 110 deaths. I just can’t tell you the magnitude of what we’re talking about here,” Justice said today.

The governor reads the ages and home counties of West Virginians identified as dying of covid-19 each time he has a briefing. The prior briefing was Tuesday, so several days had gone by.

Total West Virginia deaths over the course of the pandemic have reached 4,426.

Although West Virginia’s overall covid numbers have stabilized, Justice said the recent surge assures he will have to recognize the deaths of even more state residents.

“As our numbers continue to fall, as sad as it may be we’re going to lose a bunch of people,” he said. “If we could get ourselves vaccinated, we control our destiny in a big, big way.”

Active cases are now at 7,629.

The state’s coronavirus dashboard today added 902 new cases with about the same number of previous cases moving to the recovered category.

Hospitalizations moved to 603 patients. Of those, 78.3 percent are unvaccinated.

Of the vaccine-eligible West Virginians, 58.8 percent are considered fully-vaccinated.

The governor urged people to either get vaccinated or to seek out a booster shot if six months have passed since their initial vaccination.

“What choice do we really have? The only choice we’ve really got it to go get our booster shot,” he said.

Dr. Clay Marsh

Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s coronavirus response adviser, agreed.

“Getting booster shots is very, very important,” he said.

Marsh noted that immunizations for ages 5 to 11 are on track to be approved by federal health officials next week.

“It is really important for parents to positively look at the eligibility for your 5- to 11-year-old,” Marsh said.

James Hoyer

James Hoyer, who leads the state’s interagency task force, said West Virginia will be prepared.

“We will be ready and we are ready for when the approval comes for kids age 5 to 11. A  lot of work has been done for that activity,” he said.

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