He did urge those still unvaccinated against COVID-19 to get the vaccine.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he does not have plans to bring back restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 as the more contagious delta variant begins spreading in the state.

“From the standpoint of bringing back the mask or whatever like that, again I pray to God above that we never have to consider such a thing ever again,” the Republican governor said at a news conference. “But we’ve always got to watch.”

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He took a shot at Los Angeles County, where officials have reinstated an indoor mask requirement in the nation’s largest county. “We’re not Los Angeles. Thank God. And boy, do I ever mean that.”

There are 19 confirmed cases of the delta variant in West Virginia so far, according to state data.

“It’s moving really slowly … It’s coming, and you absolutely need to be vaccinated,” he said.

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West Virginia lags behind all five bordering states in total vaccine doses administered per 100,000 people, according to federal data. The more transmissible delta variant is leading to a nationwide rise in cases again after months of decline.

State data show that 58.2% of all residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Justice set a new goal this week of vaccinating 85% of residents 50 and older, a group that currently has 81.5% coverage. He also wants 90% of those age 65 and older to receive a shot, while 88.7% currently have one.

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