Governor Jim Justice conducted his first COVID response conference since testing positive for the virus early last week.
Justice announced he tested positive Tuesday a week ago after a sudden onset of symptoms that included a scratchy throat, headache, a fever and chills. The governor tested positive after a negative rapid test. He received the monoclonal antibody infusion treatment the same night.
The Governor conducted the conference alone in his office.
The test threw the Governor’s week into a tailspin as his anticipated State of the State Address scheduled for Wednesday, January twelfth was canceled. A written copy of the address was supplied to the legislature to fulfill the West Virginia Constitution’s requirement for a joint session address.
Governor said he felt more committed now to the effort of fighting the virus but remain respectful of an individual’s right.
“I don’t think we need any mandates on anything like that at all,” Justice said. “I can only give you just a personal testimony to just say this, these vaccines are safe and could very well possibly safe your life.”
Justice posited that without the vaccines he wouldn’t have fared as well.
“Me being here right now talking to you may be testimony to just exactly that,” Justice said of his condition if he hadn’t been vaccinated. “I think would have been in tough shape,”
According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources 3,673 additional cases of the virus was confirmed Monday morning.
During the conference, Dr. Clay Marsh stated that testing from last week demonstrated around 82% of new cases in the state are the result of the Omicron variant. Moreover, the majority of cases in the Mountain State are still Delta but data indicated the steady rise of Omicron.
Hospitalized cases now stand at 854 with 200 of those hospitalized receiving intensive care treatment. According to the DHHR, 116 of the hospitalized require ventilators to breathe.
The department also reported nineteen additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 bringing the state’s death toll to 5,535 fatalities.
Justice read over all 143 names of Mountain State residents that have died since his last conference on COVID response.