Emily Rice Published

State Officials Warn Of Post-Holiday COVID-19 Surge

A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Despite the encouraging news that no new COVID-19 fatalities have been reported in the last 11 days, state officials are asking the public to prepare for a surge and report any illness to their physicians.

In a press briefing Tuesday, Gov. Jim Justice, Interim Head of the DHHR Jeff Coben and Ret. Gen. James Hoyer encouraged the public to stay vigilant as fear of a post-holiday surge in cases mounts.

“I also remind you about getting your flu shot, you know, whether it be this RSV or flu or COVID,” Justice said. “There’s three things going around and pretty nasty stuff, and everything, but protect yourself as best you possibly can. We all know that wintertime is with us.”

Hoyer pointed out a vulnerable age group shown in new data from West Virginia University (WVU).

“As we continue to manage COVID and stay in this study phase, what we see is that the bulk of our hospitalizations tend to be people aged 65 and above as we pointed out, as well as with the fatalities, but what we see in the surge periods is a greater increase in hospitalizations of people in the age group 50 to 59,” Hoyer said.

State officials asked the public to stay up to date on their vaccinations, and to not depend solely on at-home tests and report any illness or positive test to their physician.

“The good news is that the numbers right now are manageable,” Hoyer said. “But as pointed out, we can continue to get people to take those vaccinations, whether it’s a flu vaccine, the COVID vaccine. Those will help us blunt those particular surges and allow us to manage our way through this more effectively.”