COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces immediate availability of Moderna, J&J booster shots

10/22/2021

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Governor discusses passage of bill requiring exemptions from vaccine mandates in the workplace
CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and members of the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team held another news briefing today to update the public on the State’s latest pandemic response efforts.
GOV. JUSTICE ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE AVAILABILITY OF MODERNA, J&J BOOSTER SHOTS
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice reported that the CDC has recommended booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to certain individuals.

The Governor announced that pandemic response teams are ready to get more booster shots in the arms of eligible West Virginians.

“We just want to keep getting everybody vaccinated that we can possibly get,” Gov. Justice said.
The CDC recommended the Moderna booster for elderly people and at-risk adults six months after they complete their primary series of shots, bringing it in line with the distribution plan for the Pfizer booster.

The CDC also endorsed J&J boosters for everyone age 18 and older who received the initial shot at least two months ago.

If you are eligible for a booster shot, you can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with your vaccination card to receive the booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR. 
FIND A VACCINE NEAR YOU
BILL REQUIRING EXEMPTIONS FROM VACCINE MANDATES IN THE WORKPLACE PASSES
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice discussed the passage of the bill that he originally proposed, clarifying that any government or private business that wishes to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine must also allow exemptions to that mandate for medical or religious reasons.

The bill still allows businesses to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, so long as the appropriate exemptions are available.

“The bill passed, but it doesn't go into effect until January 2022,” Gov. Justice said. “I hope that our employers will take heed. I know they’re trying to stop this dreaded disease. They’re trying to do what’s right. But sometimes, in trying to look at the big picture, we don’t look hard enough at the smaller picture, and the smaller picture is really big to folks that could lose their jobs and have strong beliefs. I just ask that you respect them and try to work with them.”
COVID-19 RESOURCES
CASE NUMBERS & HOSPITALIZATIONS UPDATE
On Friday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 8,746 active cases of COVID-19 statewide; up by 277 since the Governor’s previous briefing on Wednesday.

Despite the small increase over the past two days, the active case count is down overall by 20,998 cases since peaking one month ago, a drop of 70.6% in that time.

COVID-19 Dashboard | Coronavirus.wv.gov

Meanwhile, the state continues to see a steady downward trend in the number of severe COVID cases.

The number of hospitalizations, patients in ICUs, and patients on ventilators have all dropped between 30.7% and 40.5% since peaking in the final week of September.

The number of hospitalizations is now 686; down by 99 over the past week. Since peaking at 1,012, hospitalizations have dropped by 326 (32.2%).

The number of patients in ICUs is now 205; down by 22 over the past week. Since peaking at 296, the number of patients in ICUs has dropped by 91 (30.7%).

The number of patients on ventilators is now 116; down by 47 over the past week. Since peaking at 195, the number of patients on ventilators has dropped by 79 (40.5%).

The County Alert System map continues to show modest improvement, featuring four green counties, four yellow counties, nine gold counties, 24 orange counties, and 14 red counties.
SCHOOL OUTBREAK REPORT
On Friday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 42 school outbreaks in 19 counties with 606 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)

A total of 53 county school systems have either face covering requirements or a criteria for requiring face coverings. Only two counties – Pocahontas and Tucker counties – do not have a face covering requirement at this time.

WV Department of Education COVID-19 Updates
WEST VIRGINIANS ENCOURAGED TO GET FLU VACCINE
With flu season getting underway, Gov. Justice and State health officials took time to encourage all West Virginians to get their flu vaccine.

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

In addition to providing protection from the flu, this vaccine helps reduce the burden on hospitals and healthcare systems.

Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time.

Click here to learn more
GOV. JUSTICE WELCOMES MARYLAND COUNTIES SEEKING MOVE TO WEST VIRGINIA
Gov. Justice also took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to recap an announcement he made earlier in the day along with West Virginia legislative leaders, voicing their support for a proposal to make three western Maryland counties part of West Virginia.

Several lawmakers from Garrett, Allegany, and Washington counties in Maryland recently authored a pair of letters asking the West Virginia Legislature to consider adding them to the Mountain State.

“We’ve got it going on right now in West Virginia. We are knocking it out of the park. Why wouldn’t you want to come?” Gov. Justice said during his earlier announcement Friday. “We want everyone to know that we are standing here with open arms. We welcome these counties and would be tickled to death to have them and the great folks of that incredible state.”

Gov. Justice went on to announce that he is working with legislative leadership to call a Special Session soon so that lawmakers can consider a resolution to make the offer official.

Click here to read more/watch the full event
GOVERNOR CELEBRATES SHOWCASE OF WEST VIRGINIA ON “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice took time to voice his appreciation to Good Morning America, ABC’s premier morning television program, for airing several feature-length segments about West Virginia this morning as part of their “Rise and Shine” series.

“A big thing we needed to change was our image, and it’s changed,” Gov. Justice said. “We always knew how good we were, but so many from the outside world didn’t know it.

“Now everybody is waking up to the fact that West Virginia is the diamond in the rough they all missed,” Gov. Justice continued. “We thank the Good Morning America folks and Stephanie Ramos for coming and giving us the opportunity to shine on the national stage.”
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Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

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Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:
304.558.3588

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