CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — “We’ve had 59 additional deaths since Monday. It’s unbelievable,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
During his press briefing today, Justice announced the highest two-day death total in West Virginia since the pandemic began. There have been 31 new deaths since yesterday, topping 900 for the first time. And the numbers get worse from there. There have been more than 20,000 people who have active cases of COVID-19, with 650 in the hospital. All of those numbers are record highs.
“This terrible killer is all across everywhere,” said Justice.
But there is hope.
The Food and Drug Administration will meet to discuss the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday, Dec. 10. If approved West Virginia should have its first doses for 16,000 people within five days, going first to nursing home patients and staff.
“These vaccines appear to be very, very safe and they’re incredibly effective. So this is something we are very, very enthusiastic to bring to our state,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.
Health officials say the latest spike is due, no surprise, to the Thanksgiving holiday period, and may not peak for two more weeks. They are also worried because there’s been a sharp decline in the number of COVID-19 patients responding to contact tracing requests from health departments.
“This is the time we ask the public to answer their phones and provide us information with their contacts. It is important to identify the people that you’ve been around in order for us to decrease the transmission of the disease we are seeing throughout the state,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, WV Public Health Officer.
People are advised to keep wearing their masks and keeping their distance even after the vaccines arrive.
The governor also announced the second batch of vaccines from Moderna should arrive in two weeks. That shipment will include 32,000 doses of vaccine.