CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, his office announced.
Justice said in a statement he woke up with a cough and congestion, then developed a headache and high fever. The 70-year-old governor said he initially took a rapid test for the coronavirus, which came back negative.
The governor then was administered a PCR test that was positive. A test by a state laboratory confirmed the initial result and an additional test was being administered Tuesday night. Justice was experiencing moderate symptoms and was isolating at home, the Republican governor’s office said in a news release.
Justice, who is fully vaccinated and received a booster shot, was scheduled to give his sixth State of the State address to the Legislature on Wednesday night.
The address will now be delivered by written message to lawmakers to fulfill constitutional requirements and Justice will address them at a later date, the statement said.
“For this to happen just one night before the State of the State — knowing I won’t be able to be there — saddens me,” Justice said. “There are so many great things happening in West Virginia right now.
“I’ll be back in front of you in-person before you know it.”
The governor is scheduled to receive a monoclonal antibody treatment, as recommended by his physicians. Among the physicians treating him is Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus expert.
“The Governor took the exact right course of action today,” Marsh said. “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.”
The governor’s illness comes after West Virginia shattered a seven-day record for positive coronavirus cases for the second straight week while hospitalizations hit a three-month high, according to health figures.
People who have been in close contact with Justice over the past few days are being notified. Justice’s wife, first lady Cathy Justice, tested negative on Tuesday evening.
Justice also was scheduled to make an economic development announcement Wednesday morning. That event will be held by other officials as scheduled.