State health leaders call on Gov. Justice to implement statewide mask mandate

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CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Leaders of the West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association have called on Governor Jim Justice to provide ‘clear leadership’.

What medical professionals are hoping to gain along with ‘clear leadership’, is a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of the more contagious Delta Variant.

In a letter to Gov. Justice, Dr. Michael Robie, president of WVOMA, wrote that the association requests the governor to recognize “the increasingly difficult task our County Health Officers and community physicians face in recommending established public health measures to contain the spread of the Delta Variant of COVID-19 within our state due to misinformation spread in our communities. This is occurring even at a time when new data…are available to support the clear benefit of masking, distancing, vaccination, quarantine, hygiene, ventilation and testing in containing and preventing COVID-19 outbreaks.” 

Dr. Catherine Feaga, an osteopathic physician in Jefferson County, said county health officers have the skills and commitment to help keep people safe and children safely in school, but they can’t do it alone.

 “We ask the governor to fill those big shoes and bring us together as a state to fight this together,” she wrote. We have so much to be proud of, and to let some virus tear us apart because we’re not listening to the folks who have the training and expertise to take us through this is a crying shame. That’s why we respectfully ask the governor to step up, support our county public health officers and set some real state-level guidance on beating this together.”

According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, there are currently 16,743 total active cases in WV, with 3,084 deaths related to COVID-19.

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