CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — We are now seeing some of the worst COVID-19 numbers in West Virginia since the pandemic began, and public health officials fear it will only get worse. The surge is being blamed on the Omicron variant which is the most contagious strain of COVID-19 to date.

Gov. Jim Justice and his team talked about the situation at Monday’s COVID-19 briefing.

West Virginia logged more than 3,300 new cases in the past day. Active cases now exceed 21,000, after they dropped off sharply last week. 976 people are now hospitalized, and that is nearing the pandemic record of 1,012 set back in September.

“Absolutely we are in the midst of another surge. Our hospitals are at high-risk because of the reduced staffing and the fact that many, many people are getting infected. Many more people than we’ve seen before,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.

“The way you can absolutely ensure the best possible outcome for yourself, is you’ve got to get vaccinated. you got to get boosted. You have to,” said Governor Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

As an indicator of just how bad things are, 49 of the 55 West Virginia counties are now red on the daily alert map. Red indicates the highest levels of COVID-19 transmission.

Today, the governor also announced that a third state corrections officer has died from COVID-19.

Also, as of today, 136 West Virginia National Guard troops are assisting at 25 hospitals across the state, and we are told, both numbers are likely to increase.