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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice 'extremely unwell' after testing positive for COVID-19

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice was supposed to deliver his State of the State address Wednesday but is instead feeling "extremely unwell" after testing positive for COVID-19.

Justice, 70, who said he is fully vaccinated and boosted, is experiencing moderate symptoms and is self-isolating at home.

In a statementfrom his office, Justice said he woke up Tuesday morning with congestion and cough. A little while later, the Republican governor said he developed a headache and fever.

By late Tuesday afternoon, his blood pressure and heart rate were elevated and he had a high fever, according to the statement.

Results from his rapid test in the morning came back negative. However, results from his PCR test came back positive, Justice said. The governor is receiving a monoclonal antibody treatment to help alleviate his symptoms.

"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.

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

Gov. Justice's office did not immediately respond to a request to comment on how the governor was feeling Wednesday.

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

West Virginia's COVID-19 czar, Dr. Clay Marsh, said he has "full confidence" that Justice will recover quickly because he was fully vaccinated and received a booster dose of the COVID vaccine.

"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," Marsh said in a statement.

Justice's positive COVID-19 test came a day before he was scheduled to deliver the annual State of the State address. The address was delivered as a written message, which state archivists say is a first in modern state history.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.