CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — There are big concerns tonight about whether West Virginia hospitals are going to be able to handle the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.
The governor and his COVID team are painting a grim picture of what might happen in the next few weeks. The state has plenty of hospital beds, but many facilities have serious staffing shortages. Some workers have quit from burnout, or have left the state for higher pay.
The numbers keep rising though, with nearly 1,200 new cases in the past day. There are 8,800 active cases, which is nearly double from Thanksgiving Day. Still, only 31% of those eligible for booster shots, have received one.
“What in the world are you waiting for? Absolutely without any question, you need to get this booster shot now,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
“Those who are unvaccinated and those who don’t get the booster dose, are going to potentially prevent others from getting treatment and care because of the challenges our hospitals will have,” said Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer (Ret.), Joint Inter-Agency Task Force.
For now, the governor and his team say there are no plans to reopen Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston, as the state’s surge facility. Again they say the issue is staffing shortages at most medical facilities and not a shortage of beds. Many other states are dealing with the exact same problem.