CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Even though it’s Labor Day, Governor Jim Justice and his COVID-19 task force held the regular Monday media briefing. More than 1,300 new cases have been confirmed in the past day. The Mountain State now has more than 21,000 active cases with 709 people hospitalized. The trend for most other key numbers is also bad.
“Just please help me. Help me to get us vaccinated. That’s the only ticket we got. I wish to goodness I could tell you something else, but the bottom line is just this. We’re going to have, we’re going to have a bunch more people die,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
And with numbers rising sharply, there is another public health worry.
“My concern for West Virginia is with flu season coming on in fall and winter. Unvaccinated West Virginians are going to have a challenging fall and winter. And are going to cause West Virginia to have a challenging fall and winter,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer (Ret.) Joint Inter-Agency Task Force.
59 schools in 26 West Virginia counties have now had COVID-19 outbreaks. Nearly half of all counties have no mask mandate, but Governor Justice says people can do so voluntarily.
“And I would tell you, you know if you believe your child should have a mask on at school, send them with a mask,” said Gov. Justice.
All but two West Virginia Counties are red or orange on the daily alert map, meaning rates of positive COVID cases remain very high.
Gov. Justice still believes mask mandates are best decided at the local level and 30 counties’ school boards have now adopted one, but he says if the number gets bad in other school districts, he might consider stepping in.