The number of Covid-19 cases in West Virginia has increased by 91% since Halloween and half of its virus-related deaths have occurred in the past eight weeks, said Gov. Jim Justice, citing data from the National Guard.
"This is absolutely a tragedy that is going on all across our nation and we've got to take it so seriously, right here. It is unbelievable," said Justice who stressed the importance of wearing face masks.
West Virginia currently has 622 Covid-19 patients hospitalized, with 164 in intensive care, a record high, he said. The number of intensive care patients is growing, the governor said.
Justice announced 43 additional coronavirus-related deaths since Monday. The governor juxtaposed the newly reported deaths with past "horrific disasters" in the state like the Marshall University football team plane crash.
"I was in a dorm at Marshall University in South Hall," said Justice. "We remember it always 50 years ago this happened, 50 years ago we lost 75 on that plane."
Justice went on to read the age and sex of each West Virginian who has died from the virus since Monday.
"Please don't let them become a statistic West Virginia," he said.
"Will these people be remembered in anyway, compared to that plane crash? Probably not," Justice added.
In the last 24 hours, the state reported 1,087 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 49,905 cases and 778 deaths, according to West Virginia health officials.