West Virginia governor is ‘not doing well’ after testing positive for Covid-19, chief of staff says

Justice is still in contact with his team and others, Brian Abraham told the West Virginia Gazette Mail in an interview Wednesday.

“He’s getting the care, and I think he’s trying to put up a strong front in front of us. When you talk to him, you know, he’s not doing well,” the chief of staff said.

“You can hear the congestion, hear the distress in his voice. He’s being brave but you can tell it’s affecting him,” Abraham told the paper.

The governor described feeling “extremely unwell” in a statement Tuesday.

Justice, 70, awoke that morning with congestion and a cough, eventually developing a headache and fever, he said in the statement. By late afternoon, his blood pressure and heart rate were elevated and he had a high fever.

Results from a rapid test in the morning came back negative but a PCR test came back positive, he said.

“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,” Justice said.

The governor will be receiving a course of monoclonal antibody treatment, the statement 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,” Justice said.

A written message was delivered to the state legislature Wednesday to satisfy constitutional requirements, and Justice said he will deliver an address at a later date.

Everyone the governor has been in close contact with over the past few days is being notified, and West Virginia first lady Cathy Justice tested negative Tuesday evening, according to the statement.

“I ask everyone to continue praying for the 5,452 great West Virginians that we’ve lost,” the governor said. “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.”

Justice, a Republican reelected in 2020, has been a fervent advocate for vaccinations and booster doses throughout the pandemic, often using direct language when speaking to constituents about the benefits of inoculation.

“If you’re out there in West Virginia, and you’re not vaccinated today, what’s the downside?” Justice said in July. “If all of us were vaccinated, do you not believe that less people would die? If you’re not vaccinated, you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution.”

CNN’s Claudia Dominguez contributed to this report.

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