CHARLESTON WV (WOWK) — Vaccinations continue across West Virginia, but it’s clear that nearly a third of West Virginians are not getting shots.
Health officials say because of that, numbers are spiking. The Mountain State has more than 1,600 active cases, nearly double the number three weeks ago. There are now 43 Delta variant cases, a 23% increase from last week. And the number of people hospitalized has nearly doubled since July 5th. The biggest problems are near bordering states.
“Where do almost every one of those counties touch? They touch a surrounding state. You know, that tells us everything. We’ve got to keep our guard up. We don’t need to panic, but we got to keep our guard up here,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
The Governor says he does not want to shut the state down, nor is he inclined to re-institute a mask mandate. What he and others want is more people vaccinated, and right now, the numbers for young people are abysmal.
“In the younger categories, 12 to 17, if we look at full vaccination, it is only 29 percent of West Virginia children 12 to 17, that are fully vaccinated,” said Gen. James Hoyer (Ret.), of the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force on Vaccinations.
Numbers like that are prompting a federal CDC recommendation that all students K-12 wear face masks when schools open just weeks from now. Again, low vaccination rates are being blamed.
“Our hesitancy or stubbornness or whatever you want to call it is really slowing down the stopping of this,” said Governor Justice.
As of today, 2,936 West Virginians have died from COVID-19.
Not all the numbers are bad. West Virginia now has only two outbreaks in long-term care facilities and seven in churches. At the Department of Corrections, there are only four cases among inmates and staff.