COVID hospitalizations, ICU admissions up, 59 active school outbreaks reported in W.Va.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - As COVID-19 case numbers continue to go up, physicians and officials are pleading with the public to get vaccinated.
“We’ve lost 24 additional people since Friday. I’ll ask for your prayers again, but I’ll ask more than anything for you to get yourself vaccinated to stop this,” said West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice Monday during a press conference updating the current status of the pandemic.
Of the patients currently hospitalized and battling COVID-19 related symptoms, 112 are on ventilators; a new record high in West Virginia for the entire pandemic.
A total of 216 patients are in the ICU; the highest such mark in eight months and just three away from the all-time record high in this category as well.
The total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now surpassed 20,000 for the first time since Feb. 1. The active case count of 21,500 is an increase of more than 2,000 new cases since Friday last week.
Meanwhile, the County Alert System map now shows that 53 of the state’s 55 counties are either in the red or orange categories. A total of 41 counties are currently red.
“Our map, for all practical purposes, looks solid-red now,” Gov. Justice said. “Really and truly, we’ve got a big-time situation in West Virginia, as we do all across this nation.
On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 59 active outbreaks within the state public school system.
When asked about the temporary closure of an elementary school in Putnam County due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Justice called the situation ‘silly.’
“Ya know, I think the vote there was 5-0. 5-0, no masks,” said Gov. Justice. “To me, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is a situation that is silly. It is silly, ya know, when you really step back and think about it.”
Despite COVID-19 outbreaks reported in the state’s public school system, Gov. Justice said Monday he and his administration still believes local boards of education should make mask and mitigation policies that are best for their counties, rather than statewide mandates.
“I would tell the people of Putnam County, really and truly, that if they do not agree with what is going on there they shouldn’t elect these people as school board members,” said Gov. Justice. “They shouldn’t go to the polls and just elect them and rubber stamp these people. If the people of Putnam County do not believe in this decision (no mask mandate in schools) then they need to be expressing those views to the local boards.”
“If your kid wants to go to school in Putnam County and you want them to wear a mask, have them wear their mask,” said Gov. Justice. “From the stand point of mandating in the schools, that decision has to be right now for the local level but that can change and we are looking at it none stop.”
“We do believe children should be wearing masks indoors.”
There are four active outbreaks associated with churches throughout West Virginia. The churches are located in Barbour, Doddridge, Monroe, and Wayne counties.
Additionally, there are now 58 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.Meanwhile, there are now 88 active inmate cases and 57 active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 7 marks the beginning of registration for the recently announced Healthy Grandfamilies vaccination incentive program.
The program will provide a $150 voucher for back-to-school supplies to all vaccinated grandfamilies in West Virginia; families where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren.
To qualify, all vaccine-eligible members of the grandfamily – including grandparents and grandchildren ages 12 and older – must have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The family must also be enrolled in West Virginia State University’s Healthy Grandfamilies program.
Healthy Grandfamilies – which provides information and resources to grandparents who are raising one or more grandchildren – will assist in the administration of the school voucher incentive. According to the organization, about 19,000 West Virginia children live in households with a grandparent or grandparents as their primary caregiver.
All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are encouraged to visit Vaccinate.wv.gov or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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