Justice offers latest numbers and grim details on the virus
Last spring, before West Virginia had yet to record its first case of COVID-19, an early model charting the pandemic put out a projection.
The Mountain State, that model predicted, would likely lose around 74 people by the time the coronavirus ran its course.
Nearly that many — 59 — died between Monday and Wednesday.
And forget that business about the virus running its course, Gov. Jim Justice said.
It’s staying the course.
“This terrible killer is all across everywhere,” the governor said during a press briefing Wednesday.
Justice recited the grim litany: In the 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday, a total of 1,402 residents came back with positive diagnoses.
That’s 20,059 cases in a state with less than 1.8 million people.
Among those numbers are the 650 people in the hospital, including the 180 patients in intensive care and the 77 patients on
To date, 901 people have died from coronavirus complications in West Virginia.
Meanwhile, encouraging glimmers are peeking around those clouds by way of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are both coming along quicker than originally thought.
In Washington, D.C., the FDA is meeting today for possible approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
In Canada, officials already approved its use, with inoculations set to begin next week.
And in West Virginia, a total of 32,000 Moderna doses have been earmarked for shipment here, once that vaccine is cleared, Justice said.
But that’s then, Justice and others said.
West Virginia, the governor said, is still very much in the now with COVID-19.
Justice and Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s COVID-19 czar, implored everyone to practice basic pandemic tips in the meantime: Mask-wearing, handwashing and social distancing.
State health officer Dr. Ayne Amjad stressed the importance of answering your phone if it’s the health department — the only way, she said, for contact tracing to be truly effective.
The governor also said he hopes school superintendents across the state weren’t “fragmenting” and shifting their schools to remote learning, even if the County Alert Map says otherwise.
Monongalia County Schools, which did just that today, didn’t have a choice, Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said.
The district had a showing of orange on the schools map, Campbell said, which means no in-person learning.
Campbell on Tuesday made the decision to shift to distance learning for the rest of year.
Coronavirus cases in the district are presenting themselves with a steady drumbeat now, he said.
The district announced Wednesday that a staffer had tested positive at University High School, along with another employee at Mountainview Elementary.
A bus driver and bus aide also received the same report, the superintendent said.
“I just don’t see us catching a break until after the holidays.”