West Virginia Governor Jim Justice held his regular COVID-19 briefing on Christmas Day.

Justice opened his briefing around 3 p.m. by announcing 55 new COVID related deaths across the state, some of which include residents from Ohio and Hancock counties. Justice also said there were 1,597 new positive cases in the last 24 hours.

13,500 people were tested Thursday in West Virginia leaving the reproduction Rt number at 1.19 making the state the second worst in the entire country. 49 out of 55 counties are either red or orange now on the WVDHHR COVID-19 map. Justice urged people, especially those over 65, to go get tested if they experience a cold or unusual tiredness.

Justice says that antibodies can be given to those who get tested within the first two to six days of having any type of COVID-related symptom.

West Virginia continues to lead the nation with the amount of vaccines administered. Over 28,000 doses have been given and Justice attributes this to the frontline workers putting themselves in danger, even on the holidays. Over 10,000 primary healthcare providers, rural health clinics, free clinics, home health, hospice providers, urgent cares and federally qualified health centers will receive vaccines this week. State experts are encouraging everyone to follow the guidelines over the holidays and want to remind everyone that there are free testing sites available all across the state. You can find a list of those sites here.