Justice is at a loss as hospitalizations continue to surge. Please consider getting vaccinated for BabyDog. / Photo courtesy W.Va. Governor's Office

Justice says he’s at a loss as hospitalizations continue to surge among unvaccinated residents

CHARLESTON — During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice reported that 647 West Virginians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; the highest number of hospitalizations in over seven months.

Of the patients currently hospitalized, 202 are in the ICU and 102 are on ventilators. Both of these numbers continue to rapidly approach the all-time records in West Virginia. The number of ICU patients topped out at 219 during the biggest case surge to-date in January. The number of patients on ventilators topped out at 104.

The Governor continued his urgent plea for more West Virgnians to choose to get vaccinated immediately.

“You’ve got to help me by getting vaccinated. It’s the only way out of this,” Gov. Justice said. “This thing is doing anything but getting better; it continues to get worse, and as long as we still have a significant population that’s unvaccinated, it’s going to continue to get worse.”

(See the COVID dashboard here.)

“I just don’t understand. Across the board, whether it’s President Trump, Jim Justice, the current administration – no matter who it may be – everybody is encouraging you to get vaccinated,” Gov. Justice continued. “I just read 32 new deaths today and we all know that when I’m back here in two days, it’ll be more and more.

“You don’t need to die and you don’t need to get sick to make a point.”

The Governor also reported that the statewide death toll from COVID-19 reached 3,106 on Wednesday.

He spotlighted a social media post by Charleston news reporter Kennie Bass, who noted that the death toll is now higher than the total populations of over 350 communities across West Virginia.

“Pick a place: Nutter Fort, Petersburg, Cedar Grove, Rupert, Mitchell Heights, Itmann, Whitesville, and on and on. What if we picked one of those places and said every single person in that community had died?” Gov. Justice said. “It’s unbelievable. The only way that we know to get out of this is to get vaccinated.”

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now reached 17,664; an increase of nearly 1,300 new cases since Monday and the state’s highest number of active cases in nearly seven months.

The County Alert System map now shows that 52 of the state’s 55 counties are either in the Red or Orange categories. A total of 37 counties are currently Red and 15 are Orange.

Gov. Justice went on to report that over 2,800 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since Monday.

“That’s nowhere close to enough,” Gov. Justice said.

Last week, the U.S. FDA officially gave its full stamp of approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are encouraged to visit Vaccinate.wv.gov or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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