COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice once again urges West Virginians to get vaccinated as Delta variant cases continue to climb

7/22/2021

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Governor also introduces more prize winners from 5th round of “Do it for Babydog” Vaccination Sweepstakes
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 AGAIN URGES WEST VIRGINIANS TO GET VACCINATED AS DELTA VARIANT CASES CONTINUE TO CLIMB
During today’s briefing, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 35 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant in West Virginia, up from 22 such cases as of his previous briefing on Tuesday.

“Our Delta variant numbers are starting to jump a little bit,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re still only at 35. But if you listen to our health experts, they’ll tell you this thing’s coming. And if you get this Delta variant, it’s going to be really tough on you, so you’ve got to get vaccinated.”
The 35 Delta variant cases have been identified in 16 West Virginia counties, including Berkeley, Braxton, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marion, McDowell, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan, Raleigh, Webster, Wetzel, and Wyoming counties.
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”
With Delta variant cases increasing quickly across the entire nation, the Governor and West Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh once again pleaded with all West Virginians who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 to do so as soon as possible.

“The more of us that are vaccinated, the more it puts us in a position where we can stop this dreaded killer,” Gov. Justice said. “We all know that the more people are vaccinated, the less people will die.”
“This Delta variant is different than the viruses we’ve seen before related to COVID-19,” Dr. Marsh said. “This virus is much more contagious and it’s able to spread much easier because there are such high concentrations of virus in the droplets.”

Dr. Marsh went on to point out that there were more than 60,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported across America yesterday alone, and that the vast majority of new daily cases are from the Delta variant.

“If we look around the country, in the last two weeks, we’ve now seen a tripling of the number of new cases of COVID-19,” Dr. Marsh said. “As we look at West Virginia, we’re still relatively early. But, based on every other place that we’ve seen, the Delta variant will take over and be the most common variant in West Virginia real soon.

“With school coming up and with many children who still haven’t been vaccinated, it’s really important for parents and grandparents for any vaccine-eligible child to choose vaccination,” Dr. Marsh continued. “Yesterday, we saw that a 5-year-old in Georgia died from COVID-19 and reports from Alabama are talking about young people now being in their ICUs having to be put on ventilators and respirators. One doctor said that when people are about to be put on a respirator because their lungs are failing, they ask, ‘Can I get vaccinated now?’ And the doctor has to say it’s too late.

“We don’t want it to be too late for any West Virginian. There is really no time to wait. Every West Virginian that hasn’t been vaccinated is at great risk with this Delta variant. Today is the day. Now is the time.”
DO IT FOR BABYDOG: GOVERNOR INTRODUCES LATEST PRIZE WINNERS FROM 5TH ROUND OF GIVEAWAYS
Also today, Gov. Justice recapped his journey across the state to surprise the winners of the three biggest prizes given away in the 5th round of the “Do it or Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” Vaccination Sweepstakes.

Fairmont resident and WVU nurse Denise Morrison’s life was changed forever when she received a surprise visit at work from the Governor and Babydog, who announced that her name had been drawn as the latest million-dollar prize winner of the sweepstakes.
The Governor and Babydog also surprised Hope To from Charleston (below left) and surprised Shannon Cook from the community of Glen Dale in Marshall County (below right), presenting them each with the keys to brand-new, custom-outfitted trucks.
A total of 50 West Virginians were announced as prize winners Wednesday. Additional prizes included two full four-year scholarships to any public institution in the state, five lifetime hunting licenses, five lifetime fishing licenses, five custom hunting rifles, five custom hunting shotguns, and 25 weekend getaways to West Virginia State Parks.
During Thursday’s briefing, Morrison joined the Governor via Zoom and urged all West Virginians to take the advice of State medical experts and get vaccinated.

“I just wanted to tell everyone to go get the vaccine,” Morrison said. “I know some people were hesitant to get it at first because it was new. But, being in the healthcare system and seeing how much it affects patients, their families, and healthcare workers, I can tell you it’s very important to get it. Once you witness what some people go through, I don’t know how you could not get it.”
The Governor was also joined Thursday by Tyson Bennett from the community of Falling Waters in Berkeley County; one of this week’s two college scholarship prize winners through the sweepstakes.
Gov. Justice congratulated Bennett and presented him with a custom “Do it for Babydog” backpack as part of his prize winnings.

“Thank you for the scholarship and for helping keep everyone safe,” Bennett said. “It’s been really good for the state.”

“Thank you for getting vaccinated, Tyson,” Gov. Justice replied. “You go do great things. I know you will.”

The Governor also offered his congratulations to this week’s other college scholarship prize winner; Kiera Blankenship from the town of Gilbert in Mingo County.

“These scholarships are an opportunity for you to do greatness for your whole life,” Gov. Justice said. “To me, there’s nothing better than doing this for our young kids, because they are our future.”
Vaccinated West Virginians only have two more chances to win in the “Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” Vaccination Sweepstakes.
CLICK TO REGISTER
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. Over 362,000 West Virginians have registered for the sweepstakes to date.
FIND A VACCINE NEAR YOU
Online registration to be eligible to win in the next prize drawing will remain open until Sunday, July 25, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Winners will be announced next Wednesday, July 28.

Additional prize drawings will be held weekly, with winners being announced each Wednesday through August 4.
REGISTRATION DEADLINES & PRIZE GIVEAWAY SCHEDULE
VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Free COVID-19 vaccinations are available to all West Virginians ages 12 and older.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are urged 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.

All West Virginians who have received one dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines need to remember to get their second dose as well to ensure maximum protection against COVID-19.
FIND A VACCINE NEAR YOU
In addition to clinic locations, vaccinations 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 visit Vaccines.gov for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
COVID-19 DATA AVAILABLE AT CORONAVIRUS.WV.GOV
For more information about West Virginia’s latest COVID-19-related data, visit the West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard at Coronavirus.wv.gov.

The dashboard provides a detailed breakdown of case numbers, vaccination data, and more; including the color-coded County Alert Map system, hospitalization data, and several additional features.

The dashboard is updated Monday-Friday at 10 a.m.
On Thursday, Gov. Justice reported that there are currently five active outbreaks reported at churches in Cabell, Marion, McDowell, and Webster counties. Additionally, there are currently two active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

Meanwhile, there is currently one active inmate case and four active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
COVID-19 TESTING STILL AVAILABLE ACROSS STATE
Also on Thursday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 50 counties across the state that currently have free COVID-19 testing sites available through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.
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 or 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
GOV. JUSTICE OFFICIALLY PROCLAIMS LASER LOGAN FLUHARTY AS VALLEY AVENGER
Additionally, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to report that yesterday he visited Paden City to recognize a special young West Virginian.

Logan Fluharty, who attends Paden City High School, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in April 2020.

“Yesterday, we went through a parade for Logan, and then, after that was over, we went to a beautiful park,” Gov. Justice said. “And this group of people – they call themselves the Ohio Valley Avengers – they had a special ceremony for Logan.”

The Valley Avengers are a charity organization made up of high school students that partner with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to bring hope and joy to kids battling diseases.

In yesterday’s ceremony, they made Logan a superhero; giving him a shirt and a cape and naming him “Laser” Logan Fluharty.

Gov. Justice then read a proclamation to Logan and the community, officially declaring him as the first Valley Avenger from Paden City.
“What a really, really good event that these people in this community put together; with everybody coming together,” Gov. Justice said during Thursday’s briefing. “This is what it’s all about. When it really boils right down to it, we are communities and we love one another. That community, that bond, that love for one another is what makes us West Virginians; it’s what has gotten us through this pandemic.

“The overwhelming support that the Paden City community showed, and their love for this young man and his family, it’s terrific and truly ought to be recognized,” Gov. Justice continued. “To all of you in Paden City: great work and thank you for letting me be just a small part of it. It just brings big tears to my eyes that we’ve got wonderful kids and we’ve got great communities in this great state. I’m so doggone proud it’s unbelievable.

“Logan, we’re with you and we’re going to stay right by your side.”
GOV. JUSTICE CALLS ON WEST VIRGINIANS TO CHEER ON WVU GRADUATE AT OLYMPICS
Gov. Justice also took time to call on all West Virginians to cheer on former WVU Mountaineer Patrick Sunderman during the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“We have a West Virginia Olympian,” Gov. Justice said. “You have to make sure you watch this man.”

Sunderman, a former member of the WVU Rifle Team and former member of the West Virginia National Guard, will be competing in the Men’s Smallbore Rifle 50-meter event on Sunday, July 25, at 10:30 p.m. eastern.
“Patrick, good luck, you’re a superstar beyond belief, we’re so proud of you,” Gov. Justice said. “Everybody, watch Patrick at 10:30 on Sunday evening, and be sending up your prayers and best wishes for him.”
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.
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Contact Information

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

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Office Phone:
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