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W.Va. Gov. Justice battling COVID-19, still feeling ‘unwell’

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 12:02 AM EST
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UPDATE 1/12/22 @ 7 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is dealing with serious COVID-19 symptoms after testing positive on Tuesday, Chief of Staff Brian Abraham tells WSAZ.

Despite being fully vaccinated, boosted and getting an antibody treatment, Abraham said Justice has a fever, congestion and a really bad cough. A team of doctors, including COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh, is now caring for Justice around the clock.

In an update Wednesday evening from the governor’s office, it was announced that “Gov. Justice continues to experience moderate symptoms which continue to make him feel unwell. His course of monoclonal antibody treatment was received well.

“It’s serious,” Abraham said. “He’s under the weather, obviously.” Abraham added they are hoping for a speedy recovery.

Justice said in a statement late Tuesday night announcing the positive test that he is also dealing with a very high heart rate and blood pressure issues.

The positive test led Justice to cancel his State of the State address and have other members of his administration attend a number of major economic announcements that were planned for Wednesday, the first day of the regular legislative session.

“He’s worked tirelessly on this for months now on all of these projects,” Abraham said about hundreds of jobs coming to West Virginia at multiple new manufacturing plants. “He’s been a leader in it and nobody else can convey his passion when it comes to bringing these businesses to West Virginia. It’s terrible news at the worst time, but the important thing is what this is going to do for West Virginia economy.”

“We’re certainly sad for the Governor and we hope he has a speedy recovery,” House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay) said. “I know that taking care of West Virginia and has been a priority for Governor Justice. He’s made that a clear point all of us over the past two years. We hope now that he takes care of himself and he gets back to the business of the state as quickly as possible.”

Hanshaw said the House of Delegates is going to continue into the legislative session as it normally would by accepting Justice’s budget bill. He plans to monitor if anything changes and implement any responsible COVID-19 protocols.

The House does not currently have any members in COVID-19 isolation after Justice’s positive test, Hanshaw said. A Senate spokesperson said the upper chamber will also operate normally.

“I ask everyone to continue praying for the 5,452 great West Virginians that we’ve lost,” Justice said in a statement. “We need to keep pulling the rope together. We’re going to get through this and put an end to this terrible pandemic once and for all.”

The governor’s second confirmatory PCR test from Tuesday night was positive. First lady Cathy Justice is still negative. Gov. Justice’s office staff all tested negative on Wednesday.

A representative for Dr. Clay Marsh declined an interview opportunity.

ORIGINAL STORY 1/11/22 @ 11:40 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a release late Tuesday night from the governor’s office.

The result came after the governor had a “sudden onset of symptoms,” the release states.

It goes on to say, “The Governor, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, is experiencing moderate symptoms and is isolating at home.”

Justice, who will be receiving monoclonal antibody treatment, is being treated by several medical doctors, including state COVID Czar Dr. Clay Marsh.

“Gov. Justice is in communication with his Chief of Staff and office staff to ensure that state government continues to operate smoothly,” the release states.

The governor was scheduled to deliver his State of the State address from the Capitol at 7 p.m. Wednesday. According to the release, it will be delivered by written message to the state Legislature “to satisfy constitutional requirements.”

Justice will deliver his actual address at a later date.

“While I was surprised that my test results came back positive, I’m thankful to the Lord above that I’ve been vaccinated, I’ve been boosted, and that I have an incredible support system, especially my loving family,” Gov. Justice said in the release. “That being said, I feel extremely unwell at this point, and I have no choice but to postpone my State of the State address to the Legislature. I woke up this morning with congestion and a cough. A little while later, I developed a headache and fever, so I decided to get tested right away. The rapid test that I took came back negative, but by the late afternoon, my symptoms were still getting much worse. My blood pressure and heart rate were extremely elevated, and I had a high fever. Finally, my PCR test results this evening confirmed I was positive. Because of all this, I began receiving my antibody treatment and I hope this will lessen these symptoms.”

Dr. Marsh released the following statement:

“The Governor took the exact right course of action today. He got tested at the first sign of a COVID-19-related symptom, isolated himself, and, because he is over 65 years of age, he consulted with a doctor and was prescribed a monoclonal antibody treatment. I have full confidence that Governor Justice will recover quickly, and it’s because he chose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and his booster shot. Without the immunity afforded by those vaccines, his outcome could be much worse. I continue to strongly encourage all West Virginians to take the COVID-19 vaccine and get boosted when it’s time to do so. Everyone is susceptible to this infection, and with cases in the U.S. and in West Virginia at all-time highs, there has never been a more important time to get yourself and your family vaccinated.”

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

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