COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice, state medical experts: Data shows over 99.9% of fully vaccinated West Virginians have not gotten sick from COVID-19

4/23/2021

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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.
DATA SHOWS OVER 99.9% OF FULLY VACCINATED WEST VIRGINIANS HAVE NOT GOTTEN SICK FROM COVID-19
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice and state medical experts discussed the latest data on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness after continued analysis by epidemiologists has shown that the vaccines are nearly perfect at stopping infections and deaths.

“How can you possibly walk away from this lifesaver that is absolutely available to you?” Gov. Justice said. “We know that, if you get vaccinated, your chances of getting COVID go down unbelievably.”
State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh explained that according to the most complete, up-to-date data on West Virginia’s vaccine distribution – gathered by the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) and WVU using new methodology in collaboration with the White House and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – shows that 573,547 West Virginians have been fully vaccinated to date.

Of that total, over 99.9% of fully vaccinated West Virginians have not gotten sick from COVID-19. Dr. Marsh went on to explain that fewer than 150 fully vaccinated West Virginians have experienced a breakthrough case of COVID-19 and only three have died.

“These vaccines are incredibly effective, even with the variant viruses, to prevent severe illness hospitalization and death,” Dr. Marsh said. “That’s the reason why we are so committed to trying to help each West Virginian choose to be vaccinated; so that they can protect themselves and so they can protect each other.”
“Think about it, West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “There have been 2,813 people that I have read that have passed away in West Virginia from COVID, and just three – three of them – have been people that have had both shots.

“How can you have better odds in the world?” Gov. Justice continued.
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES NEW INITIATIVE TO GET MORE WEST VIRGINIANS VACCINATED: “BEAT 588...BAD”
Despite the data, and despite the fact that 48.6% of all West Virginians who are eligible to be vaccinated have not yet received one, Gov. Justice announced Friday that the state’s vaccine supply has now met vaccine demand.

“We have hit a wall, and it’s going to be the exact same wall that’s hit all across our land,” Gov. Justice said. “Things are tougher now in West Virginia because there’s some level of reluctancy.

“But along the way, we’ve known that this wall was coming,” Gov. Justice continued. “So we have to pivot again. We have to move.”
The Governor went on announce that he and state pandemic response leaders are rolling out a first-of-its-kind initiative to encourage more West Virginians to get vaccinated.

“This is absolutely going to try to move the needle to where West Virginia again is leading the way,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve got to get the people vaccinated that are willing and wanting to be vaccinated but don’t want the inconvenience; people that are saying, ‘I would love to get vaccinated, but I just don’t have time to do it.’ You’ve also got an incredible amount of our younger people, from 16 to 35 years of age, that just don’t understand the dangers that they are exposing themselves to if they don’t take the vaccine.”

Gov. Justice explained that the goal of his plan is to decrease the number of unvaccinated West Virginians significantly below 40% of the total eligible population of 1,472,000. With a target of reducing the number of unvaccinated citizens below 588,000, the Governor is naming the initiative “Beat 588...Bad.”

“Our goal is ‘Beat 588…Bad,’” Gov. Justice said. “That’s what we are going to achieve, whatever it takes. Because, If we don’t achieve it, you can write it down; I’ll be back in front of you, day after day, reading name after name.

“We don’t want body bags to be the motivation to make us go do this. We can’t let a bunch more West Virginians die that we could’ve prevented,” Gov. Justice continued. “Today, we have the doses where we can get everybody taken care of. But we’ve got to all be pulling the rope together.”

The Governor also went on to add that West Virginia vaccine distribution officials have asked the federal government to begin sending one-to-two-dose vials of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as opposed to the standard six-dose vials that have been delivered to date.

“We have asked for a reduction in the number of doses in each vial because we have been so good at making sure none of our doses are going to waste,” said Gov. Justice, who went on to explain that, with smaller vials, vaccines can be delivered more efficiently and strategically to more populations across the state.
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION UPDATE
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has now successfully administered 1,209,768 vaccine doses after receiving a total allotment of 1,488,490 doses from the federal government to date; an overall administration rate of 81.3%.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older. However, West Virginians who are age 65 and older will continue to be prioritized first until all state residents in this age range who desire the vaccine have been vaccinated.

At the Governor’s direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) has established three fixed-location vaccination clinics in Berkeley, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties to ensure that every West Virginian age 65 and older has access to a vaccine.

All West Virginians age 65 and older are urged to pre-register for an appointment by visiting vaccinate.wv.gov or calling the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Vaccinations also continue to be made available at Walgreens locations, the Med Shoppe/Leader network of pharmacies, Walmart locations, and additional independent pharmacies throughout the state as part of the federal pharmacy partnership in West Virginia.

West Virginians can go to vaccinefinder.org for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
The JIATF continues to reach out to manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families choosing to be vaccinated by organizing vaccination clinics at these facilities.

Additionally, church leaders are still being urged to contact the JIATF for help organizing vaccination clinics for interested members of their congregations.

Anyone interested in organizing one of these vaccination clinics is asked to contact the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state is now 7,330, up from 7,293 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

There have been 405 new positive cases over the past 24 hours.

The number of active hospitalizations in West Virginia is now 248, down from 249 on Wednesday. Of those currently hospitalized, 76 are in the ICU, down from 79 on Wednesday.

The cumulative percent of positive cases is now 5.19%, down from 5.20% on Wednesday.

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

The map is updated live on the DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab) throughout the week.

Red counties: 3
Orange counties: 5
Gold counties: 9
Yellow counties: 6
Green counties: 32
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now five active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia, up from four such outbreaks as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday. The active outbreaks are located in Berkeley, Grant, Greenbrier, and Nicholas counties and account for a total of a total of 57 cases, up from 41 cases on Wednesday.

There remain 12 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

The Governor also reported that there are now 111 inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, up from 102 on Wednesday. Meanwhile, there are now eight active staff cases across the DCR system, down from nine on Wednesday. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 51 counties across the state that have free testing events scheduled 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.

An interactive online map of all free testing locations across West Virginia is available online. Users can filter the map by type of testing site, including daily testing events, recurring testing events, as well as Walgreens and Fruth Pharmacy testing locations. Users can also filter by county. 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 all locations, dates, times, and more details
ALL BUSINESSES MUST CONTINUE TO FOLLOW COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice took time to provide a reminder that all businesses in West Virginia must continue to follow all applicable COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Click here to view all active guidance documents
FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT REMAINS IN EFFECT
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.

All West Virginians age 9 and older must wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places, regardless of whether or not they are able to maintain proper social distance.

The requirement does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing or is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, anyone who is at a restaurant and actively consuming food or drink, anyone alone in a closed or physically distanced room, or anyone actively engaged in physical activity indoors.

READ MORE: Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement

All businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the face covering requirement and are responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.

Posters are 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.
DONATE BLOOD AND PLASMA
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice once again encouraged all West Virginians to consider donating blood and plasma through the American Red Cross.

Those fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis may have plasma in their blood containing COVID-19 antibodies that can attack this virus. This plasma may be able to be used as a treatment for currently ill COVID-19 patients.

For more information, visit redcross.org or call the local American Red Cross offices at 304-340-3650.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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 Coronavirus.wv.gov.
Additional media content, including video clips and/or photos from this event, will be posted on the Governor's Office website as they become available. You can find a link on the thumbnail image at the top of this press release.
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Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

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