COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces West Virginia remains among national leaders for vaccine distribution; more than 100,000 West Virginians pre-register for future shots

1/27/2021

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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.
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION UPDATE; PRE-REGISTRATION SYSTEM SURPASSES 100,000 WEST VIRGINIANS
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia remains among the national leaders in the rate of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.

National COVID-19 vaccination trackers: CDC | Bloomberg

According to the latest vaccine numbers posted to the COVID-19 Dashboard Monday morning, West Virginia now boasts a first dose administration rate of 95.2 percent. Meanwhile, West Virginia now has a second dose administration rate of 46.8 percent, which also ranks among the best such rates in the nation.

To-date, West Virginia has administered 171,235 first doses and 46,094 second doses, totaling 217,329 doses administered overall statewide. 

State officials have been made aware that West Virginia will be receiving an extra 3,700 vaccine doses next week from Moderna.

The Governor also reported that President Joe Biden announced yesterday the purchase of 200 million more vaccine doses, with increased distribution planned to go to states next week.

The U.S. will buy 100 million more doses from Pfizer and 100 million more from Moderna. The announcement also included that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will provide vaccine allocation estimates for the upcoming three weeks, as opposed to the one-week look-ahead currently in place.

The Governor went on to offer a reminder that West Virginia now has an online COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system available to the public through vaccinate.wv.gov. On Monday, West Virginia became the first state in the nation to put this kind of system in place statewide.

The new digital tool allows West Virginians to add themselves to a list of people who are interested in being vaccinated, and will notify those who sign up about the availability of vaccine doses to help streamline vaccination efforts.

As of Wednesday morning, more than 100,000 West Virginians had already signed up to be added to the pre-registration list.
West Virginians can pre-register online or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line (1-833-734-0965) to get help pre-registering.

“I encourage all West Virginians to pre-register,” Gov. Justice said. “It takes about 10 minutes to pull it off; not all day long on the phone. I hope to goodness that this is just making our lives better.”

Users will get a message after registering to confirm they are in the system, and will be sent updates regularly. The system sends texts, email, and phone calls.

The Governor added a reminder that 25 community vaccination events are being held in 17 counties across the state this week through operation “Save Our Wisdom” to serve West Virginians who are age 65 and older.
Visit vaccinate.wv.gov to view all current clinic locations and schedules.

Qualifying residents from any county in West Virginia may access an appointment at any vaccination clinic with availability, regardless of their county of residence. However, many clinics are full at this time and are utilizing waitlists. All clinics require appointments and walk-ins will not be accepted.

“Next week we will have vaccine clinics in all 55 counties,” Gov. Justice said. “This will surely help us reach out to some of the more rural areas that we’ve had trouble getting to so far.”

To-date, 76,924 West Virginians age 65 and older have received at least the 1st dose of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, at the state’s long-term care facilities, 16,770 residents and 18,379 staff members  have received at least the 1st dose of the vaccine. Additional clinics for teachers and service personnel have resulted in 16,869 of these school employees receiving at least the 1st dose of the vaccine.
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GOV. JUSTICE RECOGNIZES FOOD BANKS ACROSS WEST VIRGINIA FOR SERVICE DURING PANDEMIC
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to recognize the two most prominent food banks in the state – Facing Hunger Food Bank and Mountaineer Food Bank – for their efforts to help ensure all West Virginians have access to food, even in the face of the pandemic.

Collectively, these two food banks have distributed over 34 million pounds of food since the beginning of the pandemic 10 months ago. This resulted in more than 26 million meals being provided to West Virginians across all of the state’s 55 counties.

In partnership with the West Virginia National Guard, over 1,800 food boxes were aggregated and distributed daily between the two food banks in an effort to address the growing demand for food due to pandemic.

“Thousands of miles were logged as the food banks took their teams into communities all across West Virginia, providing over 518 mobile food distributions,” Gov. Justice said. “The West Virginia National Guard also stepped up to help them create the Hunger Free West Virginia Center at their Rock Branch warehouse.

“We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our food banks and to our great, great National Guard,” Gov. Justice continued. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank them.”
The Governor was joined for today’s briefing by Cindy Kirkheart of the Facing Hunger Food Bank and Chad Morrison of the Mountaineer Food Bank.

“Thank you to Governor Justice,” Kirkheart said. “What we really want to talk about is the important partnership that you’ve provided since the end of 2019. Your support of our state’s food banks is what’s made us able to make these achievements even during a pandemic. So we are here to also pay homage to you and to thank you for your work.”
“Your support, and the support of the West Virginia Legislature, really elevating the issue of hunger, has been just a tremendous success for us,” Morrison said. “Of all the things that were not great about 2020, one thing to take away was that we are generating a conversation about hunger. Even before the pandemic, 260,000 people struggled with hunger and, as you can imagine, many more are struggling with hunger now due to COVID-19. It’s so important to keep this issue out there and we just appreciate that support, and we appreciate you recognizing the food banks as part of the critical infrastructure of West Virginia.”
In honor of the Governor’s contributions to creating a hunger-free West Virginia, Kirkheart and Morrison surprised Gov. Justice during the briefing, honoring him with the “Hunger Hero” award for 2019-2020.
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state is now 23,571, down from 24,365 cases as of the Governor’s previous COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

The number of daily active cases in West Virginia has now decreased for 11 straight days.

The Governor added that the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – increased to 0.92 Wednesday morning; currently tied for the 27th-best such rate in the country. He noted that, as a whole, national Rt rates continue to improve, with 42 of 50 states currently under the 1.00 threshold that represents whether COVID-19 spread is growing or shrinking.

The number of active hospitalizations is now 550 patients, down from 597 on Monday, with 137 of those patients currently in the ICU, down from 151 on Monday.

The cumulative percent of positive cases is now 5.60 percent.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
WEDNESDAY MAP UPDATE
Also on Wednesday, 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: 17 (Berkeley, Boone, Doddridge, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Jefferson, Logan, Marshall, Mingo, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Ritchie, Tyler, Wayne, Wetzel, Wirt)
Orange counties: 29 (Barbour, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Clay, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Harrison, Jackson, Lincoln, Marion, Mason, Mineral, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Pleasants, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Roane, Taylor, Upshur, Wood, Wyoming)
Gold counties: 5 (Calhoun, Fayette, Kanawha, McDowell, Webster)
Yellow counties: 3 (Lewis, Mercer, Summers)
Green counties: 1 (Tucker)
DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab)
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that there remain six active church-related outbreaks across five counties: Clay, Hampshire, Nicholas, Summers, and Wetzel counties. These outbreaks account for a total of 47 cases.

There are now 85 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, down from 86 outbreaks on Monday.

The Governor also reported that there are now 155 inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, down from 261 on Monday. Of these active inmate cases, 143 are at Lakin Correctional Center. Meanwhile, there are now 40 active staff cases across the DCR system, up from 39 on Monday.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 50 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.

Click here to view all locations, dates, times, and more details
An interactive online map of all free testing locations across West Virginia is available on the state’s COVID-19 website. 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
UPDATED FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT IN EFFECT; SIGNS AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESSES
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his broadened Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.

The order requires all West Virginians age 9 and older to 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 order requires that all businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the requirement and are also responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.

Click here to read more details about the face covering requirement

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.
MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENT REMINDER
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that West Virginia plans to begin utilizing monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 more frequently, following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent emergency authorization of the treatment.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses.

The Governor again urged all West Virginians over the age of 65 who test positive to ask their doctor if they qualify for this type of treatment.
WEST VIRGINIANS CALLED UPON TO DONATE BLOOD AND PLASMA
Additionally Wednesday, 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.
FLU VACCINE REMINDER
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to remind and 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.

Locate a flu vaccine near you through the DHHR website.
DELEGATE APPOINTMENT ANNOUNCED
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to announce that he has appointed Joshua Booth of Kenova to the West Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 19th District.

The district covers part of Wayne County.

Booth fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Derrick Evans earlier this month and will serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

Click here to read more
BLACK ROCK WIND PROJECT
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to let West Virginians know that, earlier in the week, he and officials from Clearway Energy Group announced that construction has commenced on the Black Rock Wind project; a 115-megawatt wind farm that spans Grant and Mineral counties.

During construction, Black Rock Wind will create at least 200 jobs and generate millions of dollars of spending in the local community.

Click here to read more
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.

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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