CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday urged caution during holiday celebrations amid record-breaking coronavirus cases and deaths.
“You’ve got to be super careful right now with your family,” Justice said. “You may need to not bring your family together.”
The state’s positivity rate increased to 11.51%, an alarming number that is triple what public health experts say is ideal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said individuals should not travel during the holidays or should get tested before and after if they do.
West Virginia has reported 66 deaths linked to COVID-19 so far this week, with 23 reported on Wednesday. The state recorded 688 new confirmed virus cases on Wednesday.
Justice said the state is on track to finish administering the first of two vaccine doses to residents and staff at long-term care centers by the end of the month. There are 60,875 coronavirus vaccine doses in the state and nearly 18,500 doses have been administered.
Justice said that the state plans to offer an antibody treatment for people sickened with COVID-19 who are 65 and over or have underlying health conditions. The state has 1,400 doses of monoclonal antibodies and 600 more are expected to be shipped in.
President Donald Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19 in October and given an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment that he credited for his swift recovery. Justice said health care officials aim to administer the drug in the early stages of infection to trigger an immune reaction.
“It has been known to improve mortality rates in nursing homes and across the emergency room population,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, the state’s health officer.
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