Gov. Justice on record number of hospitalizations: ‘We are not overwhelmed’

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – There are now 226 battling COVID-19 in the hospital in the state of West Virginia, which is a record high number for the state.

“We’re not overwhelmed,” Governor Jim Justice said in Wednesday’s press briefing. “We’re not anywhere close to overwhelmed at this point in time.”

State and health officials say there are still plenty of hospital beds around the state, but  Dr. Clay Marsh says as the state starts to see the age of those getting sick shift back to older people, the number of hospitalizations are climbing at a concerning rate.

“Right now, we’re starting to plan for what might be coming,” Dr. Marsh said. “We’re trying to reduce the risk of having those hospitalizations really pick up, but we do see a very early increase in the use of hospital beds and therefore with what’s going on in the country it is really important that we maintain conservation and a very forward-looking view of the state of West Virginia.”

Dr. Marsh said in the briefing that they have not had to use St. Francis in Charleston as a surge hospital yet. It was activated back in August for that exact purpose.

In order to keep the hospitals from reaching capacity, Dr. Marsh says it it will take a full effort from the public doing their part.

“It is time for us to really pull together to do the things that we need to do to protect each other, to protect our healthcare workers and protect our vital hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators so that we will make it through this upcoming winter season and do it in a way where West Virginia can be a beacon for the rest of the country,” he said.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.