CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) — “They’re dropping like flies.” West Virginia governor Jim Justice (R) gave this stark message after stating many statistics about the current state of COVID-19 in the state.
Since last Wednesday, another 40 West Virginians have died from the virus. This brings the number of deaths to 735. There have been 47,842 cases in the state, 3660 of which have just been since Thanksgiving.
Justice somberly read the age and home county of each of the recently deceased.
There are now record-high rates of hospitalizations and ICU patients with 597 people in the hospital and 162 in ICU’s.
The governor and his coronavirus czar, Dr. Clay Marsh, are worried that the hospitals may be overrun. Marsh said they are seeing the first COVID-19 surge in West Virginia hospitals.
“The worst days are ahead of us,” Marsh declared.
Due to this concern, there will be no more elective surgeries for at least the next 45 days.
Marsh said that each hospital system has a surge plan which involves prioritizing inpatient beds.
The counties that border Ohio and Pennsylvania are particularly effected, Marsh said. More counties are now coded red including Ohio County in West Virginia which borders Ohio’s Belmont County. Two border cities, Wheeling and Parkersburg, which borders Ohio’s Washington County, were two places Marsh mentioned as having strains of their hospital systems.
Justice expects a vaccine to arrive in West Virginia around December 11 or 12. Justice strongly urges everyone to have the vaccine, but said he does not see a need to require it.
There are 24 school outbreaks, but Justice said schools are still “safe havens.” In addition there are multiple outbreaks at jails and correctional facilities, including 40 at the Northern Regional Jail.
Marsh stated that 44 percent of COVID deaths come from nursing homes, and there are now 91 outbreaks in these facilities statewide.
The average age for people in West Virginia who die from COVID-19 is 77.
Justice summarized the reality of the COVID-19 situation in West Virginia and one thing we all can do about it:
“How tough is it lying in a hospital bed alone, possible dying, or gasping for air? How tough is it not being able to see a loved one? How long are we going to sit idly by and let them suffer? Wear a mask.”