With deaths rising, Justice pushes for residents to get vaccinated

·4 min read

Sep. 28—PRINCETON — Gov. Jim Justice continued Monday urging for more West Virginians to get vaccinated and for who have received their doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to get booster shots and for children to get vaccinated before winter weather sends people indoors.

"Regretfully, we've lost another 45," Justice said during his COVID-19 briefing. "Over, over and over, we're up to 3,568 total people, and over and over I ask for your prayers and I ask that you don't let them become a number. I ask that you absolutely will reach out to these families. Reach out to them in prayer if you don't know them; and if you know them in any way, at least reach out with a phone call. The last thing on earth that these people need is to feel alone."

Justice said that eight months ago, the ages of people dying from COVID-19 tended to be the elderly, people with ages ranging from 77 to 105. Now younger residents are dying from the disease as well. People ranging in age from 68 to their 50s have died.

"And then we've got some that are 40, 43 and the other day a kid was 23 years old, I think," Justice said. "In all of this, what you should really pick up on is just this: eight months ago when I would read this, it was it was completely almost 77, 85, 102, 92, 91 and 88, 94 87, 93, on and on and on."

"And now the ages are moving down," he said. "We lost so much of our wisdom before, and now it's taking even more. It took a slice maybe of the very elderly, and now it's taking a slice of the less elderly. It's really hurt us in this state," Justice said. "And it surely, surely really hurt these beautiful families."

Justice said that some of the state's COVID figures were encouraging.

"The numbers would be absolutely reflective of the fact as we are going through the peak and it looks like we are starting to turn down, and that's great news," Justice said. "Our active cases are down 1,689 cases since the last update. We're at 14,534 (active cases) now. The positivity rate is still pretty dag gone high. We've still got 1,163 new positive cases. Our daily positive rate is at 11.42 (percent). Our cumulative positive is at 5.83. Our recovered case is 217,000 and some. The number of hospitalized is down to 978; that doesn't seem like much, but we're down from 1,008. The number in our ICUs is down just a little bit. Not much. We're down from 292 to 291. From the standpoint of those on a ventilator, we're down from 195 to 193."

"And all of this tells us just this: it seems like we're holding, just in a hold pattern right at the peak, but it looks like that hold pattern could absolutely start flowing our way," Justice stated.

Numbers of hospitalized people have decreased slightly.

"Our numbers continue to drop in the hospitals as far as those who are unvaccinated," Justice said. "The percentage of those dropped just a little tiny bit. Now in our hospitals we're approaching 20 percent of those who are in the hospitals that are vaccinated."

"If 20 percent of the people in the hospitals are vaccinated or close to it, what does that tell us?" he stated. "It tells us that we really need to get our booster shots, because those who are fully vaccinated, if they're out past six months, absolutely the effectiveness is wearing down. We've got to get vaccinated with the booster shot now. They're available, so we absolutely promote and urge you to get after that.

Justice urged people with COVID-19 symptoms to "please get tested" and to continue using masks, especially if they are indoors and among crowds.

"We just need to get more and more people vaccinated," he said, adding that about 9,400 more people had been vaccinated since his last briefing. He called for more people to sign up for the "Do It For Babydog" vaccination lottery.

Justice called for families to get children vaccinated as well, stating that children that are not vaccinated can have COVID-19 without knowing it and carrying it to other people. The virus can spread more quickly when winter weather starts keeping people indoors, he said.

"I am telling you without any question whatsoever, get your kids vaccinated," Justice said.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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