COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice continues urging boosters: “We control our destiny.”

10/29/2021

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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 CONTINUES URGING BOOSTERS: “WE CONTROL OUR DESTINY”
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice yet again encouraged all West Virginians to determine if they qualify for a booster dose and then immediately get one if they are eligible.

“Even as our numbers continue to fall, as sad as it may be, we’re still going to lose a bunch more people, and it’s a shame because we are in control of this,” Gov. Justice said. “We just need to get ourselves vaccinated.

“We control our destiny.”
After reading 110 new deaths during his briefing, Gov. Justice noted that 92.2% of the West Virginians who have died from COVID-19 have been unvaccinated. However, he went on to say that there is an increasing percentage of people who were fully vaccinated with the first series of shots that are now in the hospital with COVID-19.

“Those of you that are out there that were fully vaccinated, your immune protection is depleting,” Gov. Justice said. “If you’re six months out from being fully vaccinated, especially if you're 65 and older, the amount of protection has probably drifted from 90-95% down to 15-30%.

“The only choice we’ve really got is to go get our booster shot, and it will ramp your protection back up,” Gov. Justice continued.
FIND A VACCINE NEAR YOU
There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. 

Per the latest CDC recommendations, individuals who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot if it has been at least six months since they completed their initial series of shots and they fall into at least one of the following groups: For individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Per the CDC, eligible individuals now may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
* = Underlying medical conditions: State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh has noted that the list of underlying medical conditions that would qualify an individual to receive their booster shot is extremely broad. According to the CDC, such conditions include, but are not limited to:
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Chronic lung diseases
  • Dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions
  • HIV infection
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
  • Mental health conditions
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Smoking, current or former
  • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
  • Substance use disorders
  • Tuberculosis
Click here to read more (via CDC)
If you are eligible for the 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.
WEST VIRGINIA CONTINUES PREPARATIONS FOR FEDERAL APPROVAL OF VACCINE FOR CHILDREN AGES 5-11
The Governor and state health experts went on to say that West Virginia continues its preparations ahead of the federal government’s expected approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11.

“Our Joint Interagency Task Force is ready to go on that,” Gov. Justice said. “As soon as the federal government gives us the green light, we’ll be going full throttle on getting our kids vaccinated.”

“The Centers for Disease Control will meet on November 2nd and we anticipate that they will give the thumbs up for the Pfizer vaccine at 10 micrograms – which is one-third of the dose of the adult vaccine – for 5-to-11-year-old children,” said state Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh.

“In a recent poll by the Kaiser Foundation, they projected that only about one-quarter of parents nationally were committed to vaccinating their children,” Dr. Marsh continued. “It’s important to note that, here in West Virginia, we’ve seen a large number of 5-to-11-year-olds come up with new cases throughout the Delta surge. So it is really important for parents to positively look at the eligibility, which we anticipate will happen next week, for your 5-to-11-year-old.

“Remember, although most 5-to-11-year-olds who would contract COVID-19 would not die of COVID-19 or be hospitalized, there is a risk – very small though it may be – of that happening, plus the risk of long-term consequences with COVID-19 via this unusual multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which occurs mostly in children about a month after the virus impacts children or ‘Long COVID’ – which can happen after the initial infection – are two problems that we want to prevent in our youth.”
CASE NUMBERS & HOSPITALIZATIONS UPDATE
On Friday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 7,629 active cases of COVID-19 statewide; up by 263 cases since the Governor’s previous briefing on Tuesday.

Despite the small increase over the past two days, the active case count is down overall by 22,115 cases since peaking in mid-September, a drop of 74.4% 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 37.8% and 40.4% since peaking in the final week of September.

The number of hospitalizations is now 603; down by 83 over the past week. Since peaking at 1,012, hospitalizations have dropped by 409 (40.4%).

The number of patients in ICUs is now 184; down by 21 over the past week. Since peaking at 296, the number of patients in ICUs has dropped by 112 (37.8%).

The number of patients on ventilators is now 117; up by one over the past week. Despite the slight increase, since peaking at 195, the number of patients on ventilators has dropped overall by 78 (40.0%).

The County Alert System map now features seven green counties, eight yellow counties, six gold counties, 20 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 563 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)
COVID-19 RESOURCES
GOVERNOR SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice signed Executive Order 29-21, formally empowering the West Virginia Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) on COVID-19 to support the state’s COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts.
GOVERNOR CELEBRATES HALLOWEEN WITH MIDDLE SCHOOL JIM JUSTICE LOOKALIKE
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice took time to welcome 13-year-old Jameson Marble onto his briefing.
Marble, a student at John Adams Middle School in Charleston, recently went viral on social media after he dressed up as the Governor for a Halloween celebration, complete with white hair and a stuffed animal Babydog replica.

Marble was invited on set during the briefing in his full Governor attire.

“This is the greatest Halloween costume that you could ever pick,” Gov. Justice said.

Marble says that he got vaccinated for Babydog.

“In every way, shape, form, and fashion, get vaccinated,” Marble said.
GOV. JUSTICE CELEBRATES WEST VIRGINIA’S RANKING AS A TOP-10 DESTINATION TO VISIT WORLDWIDE
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to celebrate the recent announcement that West Virginia has been named a Top-10 global travel destination to visit in 2022 by Lonely Planet.

“This is not the Top-10 between West Virginia and Mississippi or West Virginia and South Carolina, this is the Top-10 in the world,” Gov. Justice said. “Who would have ever thought five years ago that we could get to a position where West Virginia would be telling its story to the point of being named one of the Top-10 destinations in the world for people to come to. It’s unbelievable.

“To me, West Virginia has always been a world-class travel destination,” Gov. Justice continued. “We all know how great it is here: how incredible our people are, the natural beauty beyond belief. Thanks to this announcement, many, many more people will come to our state and discover the greatness of West Virginia for themselves. The world is welcome to West Virginia.”
GOV. JUSTICE RECAPS FIRST EVER STATE TROUT STOCKING OF UPPER GUYANDOTTE RIVER
Additionally, Gov. Justice took time to recap his visit to Wyoming County on Wednesday, where he celebrated West Virginia’s Fall Trout Stocking season and conducted the first ever state stocking of the upper Guyandotte River, announcing that the upper Guyandotte will be added to the trout stocking schedule in 2022.

“It is so beautiful in that area and on that river. The waters are absolutely pristine,” Gov. Justice said. “I even got to go fish for myself for a little bit. It was a great, great day.”

The upper Guyandotte River was stocked with 250 pounds of rainbow trout purchased from Mountaineer Trout Farm. Building upon his commitment to further improve West Virginia’s already world renowned angling opportunities, Gov. Justice also announced Wednesday that the DNR is finalizing a new Trout Management Plan that will include more exciting changes to the trout program in the future. 

Click here to read more
GOVERNOR CONGRATULATES BRAD SMITH ON BEING NAMED PRESIDENT OF MARSHALL UNIVERSITY
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice took time to congratulate Brad Smith on being chosen as the next President of Marshall University.

“Brad Smith is a guy who has worked so, so hard, became the CEO of Intuit, achieved successes beyond belief, and has now chosen to come back to his alma mater as president,” Gov. Justice said. “I know he’ll do unbelievable stuff. It’s an exciting time in West Virginia and an exciting time for the Thundering Herd. I congratulate Brad beyond belief.”
GOVERNOR CONGRATULATES FORMER STATE HEALTH OFFICER DR. RAHUL GUPTA ON BEING CONFIRMED AS U.S. DRUG CZAR
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice took time to congratulate former West Virginia State Health Officer Dr. Rahul Gupta on officially being confirmed as the Director of National Drug Control Policy.

“Dr. Gupta is the first medical doctor to ever lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,” Gov. Justice said. “He served as West Virginia’s chief health officer from 2015 to 2018. I congratulate Dr. Gupta. This is a big-time appointment for a great West Virginian.”
GOVERNOR CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRATT & WHITNEY CANADA
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice took time to congratulate Pratt & Whitney Canada, a business unit of Pratt & Whitney, on the 50th anniversary of their maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility – Pratt & Whitney Engines Services Inc. – located in Bridgeport.

“They employ right at just about 400 people and they’re pumping out between 500 and 600 engines every year. It’s amazing beyond belief,” Gov. Justice said. “I congratulate Pratt & Whitney Canada on 50 years. Thank you for sharing a big piece of you with us in West Virginia.”
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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

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