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State now giving vaccine boosters for people with compromised immune systems

MORGANTOWN — Monday’s bad news: COVID numbers keep getting worse — 1,482 new positives since Friday; active cases now at 5,949; 369 hospitalized, with 127 of those in ICUs; only 10 green counties.

“We’re going to have more people die; that’s all there is to it,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “It’s absolutely time to be vaccinated.”

Monday’s good news, Justice said: The state has begun administering booster shots for people with compromised immune systems, following Friday’s green light from the FDA and CDC. “We immediately began administering those extra doses,” he said, with local health departments and pharmacies assisting.

COVID-19 Czar Clay Marsh said 91% of new cases in the state are Delta variant cases. Urging vaccines, he said, “This is really the defining moment for us in many ways.”

Joint Interagency Task Force Director Gen. James Hoyer said Monday’s hospitalization figure represents an 11% increase from Friday. “At that pace, in less than two weeks, we would hit the maximum number of hospitalizations for COVID that we hit during the last surge.”

Justice said again he’s not ready to renew the mask mandate and was asked if he’s trying appease both sides: the anti-vaxxers/maskers and the pro-vaxxers/maskers.

“We’re absolutely trying to appease both groups,” he said. “We’re trying to keep everybody moving together.” Over the weekend, 7,100 residents got vaccinated and some of those must have changed their minds. “I’m trying to skate across the razor blade.” But there’s not enough evidence right now to go to mandates, he said.

Marsh took a question about what number might trigger a recommendation for a mandate. He didn’t have an exact figure, but said they recommend that each vaccine-eligible person get vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna. And vaccinated or not, if you’re in a high-spread area, add safety through a mask or three-layer face covering.

There’s not a single metric, he said. They’re watching how the virus is spreading and allowing for local decision-making. In the meantime, don’t wait for a mandate. Take the best protective measures for yourself and your family.

Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said the state COVID reporting system underwent an update last week and the numbers have been lagging. So the next dashboard update — either Monday night or Tuesday morning — would show 700 cases not previously included along with the newest figures.

TWEET David Beard @dbeardtdp