COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice: “Do it for Babydog” Vaccination Sweepstakes ends as a tremendous success


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.
With the registration window for the “Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” Vaccination Sweepstakes now closed – and with more than 385,000 West Virginians registered – Gov. Justice declared during his latest briefing Monday that the program has been a tremendous success.

“I don't know how in the world anyone could say anything other than that this was a tremendous campaign and was very, very successful,” Gov. Justice said. “At the end of the day, we saved a bunch of lives.”
Before Gov. Justice announced the “Do it for Babydog” sweepstakes, vaccination rates in West Virginia were slowing down, with just under 900,000 residents having received at least one dose. After the Governor announced the program, however, a steady increase in the number of vaccinated residents resumed.

To date, 1,076,477 West Virginians have received at least one dose of the vaccine; approximately 180,000 more than had been vaccinated before Gov. Justice launched the sweepstakes.
The Governor went on to note that more than 9,000 vaccine doses were administered this weekend alone.

“How many lives did we save and what are they worth?” Gov. Justice asked. “We spent a few bucks on this program, but we spent those bucks for a cause that was worth it: saving lives.”

Although registration is closed, the “Do it for Babydog” fun is not over yet.

The Governor will announce the final round of prize winners tomorrow; Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Gov. Justice will personally present a grand prize of $1.588 million, a second-place prize of $588,000, and the keys to two brand-new custom-outfitted trucks.

Two vaccinated West Virginians ages 12-25 will win a full four-year scholarship to any public institution in the state.

Additional prizes include 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.

“Stay tuned tomorrow,” Gov. Justice said. “If you see me show up with Babydog, you’ll know something is up.”
Once again Monday, Gov. Justice underscored the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, with case numbers continuing their sharp increase in West Virginia and even more so across the nation.

“If you're not vaccinated today, nothing that's going on in your life is as important,” Gov. Justice said. “Right this second, you need to run to the fire and get vaccinated, and your kids need to run to the fire with you.

“You need to put this as a number one priority in your life.”

Exactly one month ago today, West Virginia’s case total dropped to 882; it’s lowest point in over a year. However, in the time since – due in-part to the emergence of the Delta variant – cases have ballooned to 4,010; more than four times higher in just four weeks.

The number of active hospitalizations in West Virginia is now 217, up from 210 as of the Governor’s previous briefing on Friday last week. Of those currently hospitalized, 32.3% are in the ICU.
“We're putting our healthcare workers and our hospitals in an exceptionally difficult position if we don't pick up the pace of vaccination,” said Jim Hoyer, Director of the Joint Interagency Task Force.

“Today, 60% of our total population and 69% of our eligible population has had at least one dose,” Hoyer continued. “But while those numbers are positive, they are just not fast enough to keep up with the Delta variant and what may be coming behind that.”

Gov. Justice also spotlighted a recent cover story in USA Today, with the headline, “We are failing one another.” 

“It says, ‘This is America's fourth COVID surge. It didn't have to happen. Let's end it now,’” Gov. Justice said.
The story features a map that uses CDC data to illustrate transmission rates for each county across America.

The map is covered in large swaths of red; indicating high community transmission rates across much of the country.

“Look below us; Kentucky is all red, Virginia is about 60% red, Tennessee– all red, North Carolina– all red, South Carolina– all red, Georgia– all red, Florida– all red, Alabama– all red, Mississippi– all red,” Gov. Justice said. 

“Then it shows West Virginia, which is only partially red,” Gov. Justice continued. “Other than that, we continue to do a pretty decent job. You’re hanging in there, West Virginia. But you need to get vaccinated before it’s too late.”
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 11 active outbreaks associated with churches throughout West Virginia. The churches are located in Cabell, Fayette, Jackson, Jefferson, Mason, Marion, McDowell, Nicholas, Putnam, and Raleigh counties.

Additionally, there are 14 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

Meanwhile, there are 30 active inmate cases and four active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
Additionally, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 offer his condolences following the passing of former WVU head football coach Bobby Bowden on Sunday.

Bowden is the second-winningest Division I football coach in NCAA history.

“Coach truly was a legend,” Gov. Justice said. “I knew him very well. He was a Christian, through and through. He was a gentleman beyond belief. Not only was he a great football coach, more than that, he was a great, great man and we will truly miss him.”
The Governor also took time to echo his announcement Saturday that he has reactivated the West Virginia Public Energy Authority (WVPEA).

The WVPEA was created by the Legislature with a mission to foster, encourage, and promote the mineral development industry in West Virginia.

By reactivating the WVPEA, the State will maintain real time, firsthand knowledge of the status of each power plant, their life cycle, and whether there are concerns of household power supplies being disrupted.

“I am really proud to reactivate this board,” Gov. Justice said Monday. “We always want to try to foster and be proud of our natural resources in our state and we want to ensure that West Virginia will continue to be an energy powerhouse for the entire world.”

The WVPEA will also help coordinate the output of merchant plants with capacity needs of regulated plants. Additionally, the Authority will assist in developing the next generation of coal plants and long-term energy policies that use all of West Virginia’s resources.

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