Liz McCormick Published

W.Va. Again Breaks Record For Hospitalizations, New Daily Cases Of COVID-19

Jim Justice - Nov 16 2020.jpg

West Virginia has hit two more grim COVID-19 records.

On Saturday, there were more than 1,100 new cases of the coronavirus reported within a 24-hour period, and on Monday, more than 380 people were hospitalized with the potentially deadly virus. Both numbers are the highest ever in the state.

“I want us to get more control over this terrible virus that is just eating us alive. I want us to absolutely wear our mask,” Gov. Jim Justice said on Monday.

Justice announced during his latest virtual press briefing that West Virginia now has more than 10,300 active cases of COVID-19, meaning people who have yet to recover.

Of the hospital figure, 108 people are in an intensive care unit and 41 people are on ventilators.

On Friday, the governor issued a flurry of executive orders to slow the spread of the virus, including a tightened mandate for mask-wearing. Now, everyone over the age of 9 must wear masks inside all public buildings, at all times, even when social distancing can be achieved. The only exception is if someone is actively eating or drinking or has a legitimate breathing issue. Businesses are also expected to post signage and turn people away if they refuse to wear a mask.

Justice emphasized on Monday the need for everyone to wear masks. He did not name names, but he alluded to some pushback he’d received over the weekend from those opposed to wearing masks.

“What right do they have to infect others, or possibly infect others? What right do they have to just do that because that’s what they want to do?” Justice said. “Ninety-six percent of the people in West Virginia believe we ought to be wearing a mask. Without any question, I strongly urge us all to wear a mask.”

State officials are also urging West Virginians to take advantage of free testing offered throughout the state with emphasis on doing this ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Justice also applauded the recent news from Moderna announcing that its COVID-19 vaccine is 95 percent effective. This news comes on the heels of a recent announcement from Pfizer, which also saw promise from its experimental vaccine that showed a more than 90 percent effective rate.

Health officials say, however, it will still be months before a vaccine is approved and available to the public.