Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, announced late Tuesday that he tested positive for the disease despite receiving a vaccine and a booster shot.
Justice got tested using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which came back positive after a rapid test returned negative. He planned a second PCR test to confirm the results.
“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,” the governor said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Justice’s office clarified that he will deliver the address by written message to comply with state requirements.
The governor developed congestion, a cough, headache, and fever, as well as elevated blood pressure and heart rate.
Once the test came back positive, Justice was treated with monoclonal antibodies, which studies show help prevent COVID-19 cases from worsening.
“I hope this will lessen these symptoms,” Justice said.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for an update on Justice’s condition.
An event he was supposed to attend on Wednesday, for a new deal between GreenPower Motor Company and the state to manufacture electric school buses, was still held, but attendees did not answer questions from reporters.
Justice, 70, is in two high-risk categories, being elderly and overweight.
Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s COVID-19 czar and vice president for health sciences at West Virginia University, said in a statement released by Justice’s office that “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,” he said, adding that “everyone is susceptible” to the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines were initially promoted as being highly successful in preventing infection by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus but they lose that effect as time goes by from vaccination, with worse results against the Omicron virus variant.
Protection against severe disease has slipped as well, but not by as much.
Early data signals boosters can restore much of the lost protection, but that the effect of boosters wanes starting several weeks later.