CHARLESTON — During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice and State medical experts announced the latest updated hospitalization data shows that 818 West Virginians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; matching the all-time record high number of hospitalizations for the entire pandemic, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“Back when we started down this pathway with the Delta variant, I came to you and said that we really needed to buckle up, because this thing could run rampant all across our state,” Gov. Justice said.
“Well it surely has,” he continued.
According to State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh, the number of West Virginians in ICUs is still at the all-time record mark of 252, while the number of West Virginians on ventilators has once again broken the all-time high, reaching 152 individuals.
“We’ve reached that level of hospital bed capacity, taken up by people infected with COVID-19, about 100 days quicker than we did during our last surge in December 2020,” Dr. Marsh said. “We know that about 85% of our hospitalized patients are not vaccinated, 90% of our ICU patients are not vaccinated, and 91-93% of our people on ventilators are not vaccinated.”
“We can see that more West Virginians are dying now,” Dr. Marsh continued. “About six weeks ago, we were averaging about six deaths a week. This week we are already over 60.”
The statewide death toll from COVID-19 reached 3,207 on Friday, with 38 more deaths being reported since his previous briefing just two days ago.
“There’s no guarantee that we’re close to the point in time when this surge is going to peak and we’re going to go down,” Gov. Justice said.
“We’re going to continue to lose people in this surge and it brings a level of sadness over all of us,” Gov. Justice continued. “We offer up our prayers to all those we’ve lost, and we offer our prayers that we’ll all realize that going unvaccinated is really making a big mistake.”
As of Friday, the total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia had reached 24,532; an increase of more than 2,300 new cases in the past two days.
Meanwhile, the County Alert System map now shows that 43 of the state’s 55 counties are now in the highest-risk Red category. Another eight counties are one step below in the Orange category.
Mason County was noted as “Red.”
According to the news release, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is fully FDA-approved for the prevention of COVID-19 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.
“We’ve had 4,800 people that have been vaccinated in just the last two days since our briefing on Wednesday,” Gov. Justice said. “Of those 4,800 people, there’s no question that some of them, with this move, have saved their life or the life of a loved one or someone really close to them.”
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.
Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.