COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice recognizes National Public Health Thank You Day; announces transition of West Virginia National Guard leadership


​CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
During his latest briefing, Gov. Justice took time to recognize Monday as National Public Health Thank You Day.

Every year on the Monday before Thanksgiving, the nation takes time to recognize the public health professionals who work tirelessly every day to protect us from disease, injury, and other health threats. Gov. Justice noted that the day has particular significance this year as the country’s battle with the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“Really and truly, every day ought to be National Public Health Thank You Day,” Gov. Justice said. “Think of the people that are protecting us. Think of the risks they’re taking. Think of their courage. Think of the fact that, every day, they’re crawling up out of the bed, putting their clothes on, and going right in the middle of the fire for all of us.

“To these brave people all across our land, thank you so much for all you do,” Gov. Justice continued. “We continue to pray for you and we thank you again.”
Click here to view photo album​
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, will be retiring from his post in the WVNG, but will continue to serve the state through a new role at West Virginia University.

“Major General Hoyer has spent almost 40 years in uniform and almost 10 years as the Adjutant General of our National Guard. He and his wife Amy have spent their entire life together in military service,” Gov. Justice said. “The general and I had a conversation very recently where he expressed his desire to retire from uniform, but that he wanted to continue to serve the state.

“He also told me he wanted to continue to be a part of my leadership team leading our COVID response and preparing for vaccine distribution. I agreed that we would develop a plan for him to play a key role working for me but in a different status,” Gov. Justice continued. “Many of you know that General Hoyer was also a key part of my team that helped convince Virgin Hyperloop to come to West Virginia, and we will need his leadership to bring this to fruition and develop the other unique opportunities that will come with it. The general has also been a leader in our efforts to repurpose surface mine sites and leverage the capabilities of the coal industry for national security efforts. I want him to continue to grow these defense opportunities for our state. So, we worked with Dr. Gee at West Virginia University to establish an opportunity for General Hoyer to continue his work with me and my administration.”
Gov. Justice announced that General Hoyer will serve as a Senior Associate Vice President at WVU as he carries out these duties.

“He will be the leader of our Joint Interagency Task Force on Vaccination, he will continue to be a key member of my COVID-19 Advisory Team, and he will also help me work on important economic development projects,” Gov. Justice said. “He has and continues to be a great friend and a great leader for our state. Cathy and I are excited for him and his wife as they take on this new chapter of their lives and as General Hoyer continues to serve with me to move West Virginia forward.”

“Governor, while I may be changing uniforms, my intent is to still work with you to take care of the people of West Virginia and figure out how to do more to help our state,” Hoyer said. “I could never ever thank you enough for the confidence you’ve placed in me to lead the Guard, but more importantly, to be a part of the team doing great things for West Virginia.”
Gov. Justice went on to announce that, at the recommendation of Maj. Gen. Hoyer, he is appointing Brig. Gen. Bill Crane to serve as the new Adjutant General to lead the West Virginia National Guard.

This transition will occur on January 4, 2021.

Click here to view appointment letter
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state has also reached a new record high of 13,678. The number of total patients hospitalized also hit a record high of 463 and the number of ICU patients hit a record high of 136.

Meanwhile, the cumulative percent of positive cases is now 3.48%, up from 3.42% last Friday and the highest such rate seen in West Virginia since April 24, 2020.

As of Monday morning, the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – was 1.09; the 23rd-best such rate of any state in the country.

Meanwhile, West Virginia continues to outperform the national average – as well as the rates of all of its bordering states – in lowest percentage of population positive, and lowest percentage of positive test results.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update.

Red counties: 5 (Berkeley, Brooke, Marshall, Mineral, Wirt)
Orange counties: 18 (Barbour, Boone, Grant, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Jackson, Jefferson, Mason, Mingo, Ohio, Preston, Putnam, Ritchie, Wayne, Wetzel, Wood, Wyoming)
Gold counties: 3 (Cabell, Doddridge, Taylor)
Yellow counties: 16 (Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Harrison, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Pleasants, Raleigh, Tyler, Upshur)
Green counties: 13 (Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Marion, Mercer, Monongalia, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Roane, Summers, Tucker, Webster)

The map is updated live on the DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab) throughout the week for informational purposes and to provide an indication of how each county is trending ahead of each Saturday at 5 p.m.; the time when each county is assigned its official color designation for the next week, which determines the level of scholastic, athletic, and extracurricular activities permitted in each county for that particular week.
DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab)
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice announced that the situation at Stevens Correctional Center in McDowell County has improved greatly. At one point during the recent outbreak, Stevens had a total of 266 positive inmates and 47 positive employees. Now, all but 13 inmates and all but seven employees have recovered.

Outside of the outbreak at Stevens Correctional Center, there are now 20 active inmate cases and 27 active staff cases across the entire West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update

West Virginia now has 22 active church-related outbreaks across 16 counties: Berkeley, Cabell, Fayette, Jackson, Kanawha, Logan, Marion, Mingo, Monroe, Preston, Raleigh, Taylor, Tyler, Wayne, Wood, and Wyoming counties. These outbreaks account for a total of 291 cases, up from 282 last Friday.

There currently remain 101 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

The Governor also reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are 25 active outbreaks in public schools across the state. These outbreaks account for 90 confirmed cases, up from 88 last Friday.

Click here to view the WVDE’s Current Outbreaks in Schools chart
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reviewed this past Saturday’s 5 p.m West Virginia Department of Education color-coded School Alert System map update, which determines the level of scholastic, athletic, and extracurricular activities permitted in each county for the following week.

Results of the update on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, were updated on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, to account for several counties turning Red. The latest School Alert System map designations are as follows: 

Red counties: 9 (Berkeley, Brooke, Hardy, Jackson, Marshall, Mineral, Ritchie, Wirt, Wood)
Orange counties: 10 (Boone, Cabell, Hampshire, Hancock, Jefferson, Mason, Ohio, Putnam, Wayne, Wyoming)
Gold counties: 12 (Barbour, Clay, Harrison, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mingo, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Preston, *Upshur, Wetzel)
Yellow counties: 14 (Calhoun, Fayette, Grant, Greenbrier, Logan, Marion, McDowell, Mercer, Monongalia, Pleasants, Raleigh, Randolph, Taylor, Tyler)
Green counties: 10 (Braxton, Doddridge, Gilmer, Lewis, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers, Tucker, Webster)

(*=Upshur County decided to move to full remote learning and voluntarily enter into the Red designation, despite qualifying in the Gold category)

State health leaders who make up the COVID-19 Data Review Panel verified the data to ensure the map was a true indication of the safety level in each county.
Once again Monday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that a new online map of all free COVID-19 testing locations across West Virginia has been launched on the state’s COVID-19 website.

Users can filter the map by type of testing site, including daily testing events, recurring testing events, and pharmacy testing locations.

Each location is marked on the map with a pin. After finding a testing location nearby, users are able to click on the pin for more information about that particular testing site, including the specific location and timeframe during which testing will be held.

Click here to view interactive map of free COVID-19 testing sites
Across West Virginia, 51 counties have free testing events scheduled for the near future through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.

This testing is available to all residents, including asymptomatic individuals. Proof of insurance is not required. Attendees should bring identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Click here to view all locations, dates, times, and more details
Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that, as part of his administration’s efforts to expand free COVID-19 testing throughout West Virginia, the State is now partnering with Walgreens and West Virginia-based company Fruth Pharmacy to offer dozens of new free testing sites at several of their pharmacy drive-thrus.

Pre-registration is required for pharmacy drive-thru testing.

Click here to find the testing location closest to you
Also Monday, Gov. Justice again offered a reminder that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance on Thanksgiving travel for the upcoming holiday.

“I again want to once again encourage all West Virginians to get tested before Thanksgiving and before spending time with loved ones,” Gov. Justice said. “We just ask that you follow all the guidelines and do everything you can to stay as safe as possible.”
Once again today, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his broadened Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement is now in effect.

The new order requires all West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places. This differs from the Governor’s initial indoor face covering requirement, which allowed masks to be removed in such places if adequate social distancing could be maintained. Under the new order, that exception no longer exists.

The new order also requires that all businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the requirement and are also responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.

Click here to read more details about the face covering requirement

Posters are now available on the DHHR’s online Face Covering Toolkit for businesses or organizations to print and display. Social media graphics are also available for download and use by the general public.
Also today, Gov. Justice provided an update on cities and counties throughout West Virginia applying for funds through the federal CARES Act, reporting that more than $189 million has now been awarded all across the state.

web portal is available for city and county government officials to apply. Interested parties can also call the helpline: 1-833-94-GRANT.

Each of the recipients of CARES Act funding, along with grant amounts, are now available to view through the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office COVID-19 transparency website.
Once again today, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to remind and encourage all West Virginians to get their flu vaccine.

According to health officials, everyone 6 months and older should receive this vaccine.

Locate a flu vaccine near you through the DHHR website.
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit

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Jordan Damron,


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