Gov. Justice reports new record highs for hospitalizations, mostly among the unvaccinated

CHARLESTON — During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice reported that West Virginia has once again set a new record number of COVID-related hospitalizations for the entire pandemic, with 893 individuals currently in hospitals across the state.

The number of West Virginians in ICUs has once again set a new record high of 275 patients. The number of West Virginians on ventilators is up to 160 patients; just three shy of the all-time record in this category as well.

“We know that, for the most part, we’re dealing with a disease that is attacking the unvaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “If you’re still unvaccinated, you need to make a great decision right now and get yourself vaccinated.”

Approximately 84% of West Virginians who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated and over 90% of those in ICUs with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

On Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to illustrate just how overwhelming of a majority these numbers are, showing a pair of infographics visualizing what these percentages look like.

“You can see, there’s no getting away from it. It’s all around everywhere,” Gov. Justice said. “The only way you’re really going to stand a great chance to get away from it is to be vaccinated.”

“More and more people are dying every day,” Gov. Justice continued. “More and more, there is a need for you to get vaccinated to save your life and the lives of your loved ones around you.”

The statewide death toll from COVID-19 reached 3,296 on Wednesday, with 58 more deaths being reported since the Governor’s previous briefing just two days ago, including 14 such deaths reported yesterday as a result of the DHHR’s data reconciliation with official death certificates.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now reached 27,674; up from 27,607 as of the Governor’s previous briefing on Monday.

Meanwhile, the County Alert System map now shows that 52 of the state’s 55 counties are now in either the highest-risk Red category or one step below in the Orange category.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has decreased once again, dropping two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.8% in August 2021.

West Virginia’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest mark since before the pandemic, reaching 4.8% for the first time since June 2019.

The state’s unemployment rate has declined for 16 consecutive months and remains better than the national unemployment rate of 5.2%.

“Our unemployment rate in this state is unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said. “No one is more proud of that than myself. It takes a lot of work from a lot of people to make something like this happen. We should be really proud, all throughout the state, of how we’ve pushed the right buttons.”

The number of unemployed state residents decreased by 1,700 to 38,200. Meanwhile, total employment grew 1,500 over the month.

Since August 2020, total nonfarm payroll employment has increased 24,100.