Gov. Jim Justice reported nine more deaths during his COVID-19 briefing Wednesday afternoon.
This brings the total number of in-state deaths to 7,479. The deaths were exclusively among the elderly, with the youngest death being a 65-year-old from Greenbrier County.
Justice continued to urge West Virginians to get their omicron booster shot as the temperatures continue to decline.
“It’s starting to get colder, it’s absolutely going to be more and more and more folks inside,” Justice said. “The chances of this thing spreading even faster are surely more with people gathered together.”
Ret. Maj. Gen. James Hoyer also brought up staffing concerns across the state’s hospitals, with flu season also set to begin.
“This time of year also tends to be a time when we have more people in hospital for a variety of respiratory related issues,” Hoyer said. “So we want to continue to look closely at that. Part of the governor’s task force responsibility is to work with our hospital association and our healthcare system to make sure that we can maintain those capabilities.”
Coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh is optimistic that despite the drops in temperature, this coming season will look better than past pandemic winters.
“Looking at Europe and seeing what’s going on with the level of immunity that we have worldwide, it’s less likely we will see tremendous surges and COVID patients overwhelming hospitals, but hospitals are very full,” Marsh said.
There are 912 active cases in the state as of Wednesday, according to the Department of Health and Human Resources. That includes 310 newly identified cases since the previous update just the day before.