COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice continues push to expedite federal approval of extra vaccine dose for highest-risk West Virginians

8/23/2021

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Gov. Justice: “My people are working to try to find a way that we in West Virginia can move right now.”

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.
WEST VIRGINIA PUSHING FOR APPROVAL TO PROVIDE EXTRA VACCINE DOSE TO HIGHEST-RISK CITIZENS
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that he has directed State pandemic response officials to continue their push to expedite approval from the federal government to allow West Virginia to begin administering an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccines to the state’s most vulnerable citizens as soon as possible.

“My people are working to try to find a way that we in West Virginia can move right now,” Gov. Justice said.
The Governor reported that, over the past eight weeks, West Virginia has seen a 26% increase in breakthrough cases, a 21% increase in breakthrough cases requiring hospitalization, and a 25% increase in breakthrough bases causing death.

“West Virginians in long-term care facilities and healthcare settings were some of the first people in the nation to be vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “We led the nation in getting out our vaccines, did we not? Now, the CDC and the federal government says we need to wait until September 20th for our people to start getting their extra shots.

“There are so many indicators that say we need to move right now,” Gov. Justice continued. “But right now we can't get past the legalities of Washington to be able to move right this second.

“We are going to continue to work it, night and day, to try to find a way. We've got to get through more legalities to be able to pull the trigger. But, when we're ready to go – if you're 60 and older – please be ready to go, because we'll be ready.”
GOVERNOR CONTINUES TO URGE VACCINATIONS AS DELTA VARIANT CONTINUES TO SPREAD
Gov. Justice reported Monday that there are now 470 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant statewide.
To view COVID-19 variant data:
  • Go to the WV COVID-19 Dashboard at Coronavirus.wv.gov
  • Make sure the “Overview” tab is selected
  • Click yellow box reading: “Click here to view variant data”
The total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now reached 10,543; an increase of 1,737 from last Friday's case total and the state’s highest number of active cases since Feb. 15.

The County Alert System map now shows zero Green counties, with 47 of the state’s 55 counties in either the Orange or Red categories.
Hospitalizations continue to increase as well, with 447 people currently hospitalized. Of that total, 143 patients are in the ICU.

“As I’ve urged all of our people over and over, please go get vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “Even if you’ve had this before, as far as your natural immunity, it’s not enough, it does not protect you nearly like the vaccines do.”

In a study of hundreds of Kentucky residents who recovered from COVID-19, the CDC found those who were unvaccinated were 2.34 times more likely to be reinfected.

The study shows that the vaccine provides additional protection and indicates COVID-19 vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity alone, according to the CDC.

“We gave out 6,500 doses of the vaccine since last Friday,” Gov. Justice said. “That’s really good, but we need to do more.”

Also on Monday, the U.S. FDA officially gave its full stamp of approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are encouraged to visit Vaccinate.wv.gov or call 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.
“DO IT FOR BABYDOG: ROUND 2” REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that online registration is now open for the second round of the "Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life" Vaccination Sweepstakes.

All West Virginians who have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can register at DoitforBabydog.wv.gov for an opportunity to join the list of winners.

Those who previously registered for the original vaccination sweepstakes are required to register again to be eligible for Round 2.
CLICK TO REGISTER
West Virginians ages 12-25 are eligible to win a full four-year scholarship to any public institution in the state.

Additional weekly prizes for those ages 18+ include:
  • Luxury high-end sports car
  • Custom fishing or pontoon boat
  • $150,000 toward the wedding of your dreams
  • Free gas for 10 years
  • WVU football or basketball season ticket package for two
  • Marshall football or basketball season ticket package for two
  • 2021-2022 season passes for two to a ski resort in West Virginia
  • Premium ATV or side-by-side
  • Top-of-the-line zero turn lawn mower
Registration for the first prize drawing of “Do it for Babydog: Round 2” will remain open until Sunday, Aug. 29, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Winners will be announced next Thursday, Sept. 2.

Prize drawings will be held weekly, with winners being announced each Thursday through Oct. 7.
COVID-19 RESOURCES  
OUTBREAK REPORT
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 10 active outbreaks associated with churches throughout West Virginia. The churches are located in Barbour, Cabell, Doddridge, Fayette, Kanawha, Mason, Putnam, Raleigh, Taylor, and Wayne counties.

Additionally, there are 24 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

Meanwhile, there are 40 active inmate cases and 33 active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
GOV. JUSTICE OFFERS CONDOLENCES AFTER PASSING OF WEST VIRGINIA STATE POLICE TROOPER
Additionally, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to offer his prayers following the passing of West Virginia State Police Sergeant John Syner over the weekend.

“Sergeant Syner was one of our local heroes,” Gov. Justice said. “It is tragic beyond belief when we lose anyone, but especially when we lose somebody that's given this much.”

Sergeant Syner served as the Detachment Commander of the West Virginia State Police Marlinton Detachment. He was 52 years old.

“Cathy and I send our deepest condolences,” Gov. Justice said. “Please remember him and his family in your prayers.”
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Contact Information

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

Contact

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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