COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice: West Virginia once again surpasses 100% vaccine administration rate for first and second doses combined

2/22/2021


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.

WEST VIRGINIA AGAIN SURPASSES 100 PERCENT VACCINE ADMINISTRATION RATE FOR FIRST AND SECOND DOSES COMBINED
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has once again surpassed an overall vaccine administration rate of 100 percent for both first and second round vaccine doses combined.

“Our goal is always 100 percent, and we’re knocking it out of the park in every way,” Gov. Justice said. “We continue to lead the nation over and over and over.

“As always, a special, special thanks goes out of all of our counties, our communities, the DHHR, the National Guard – all those that are making this happen in every way, we thank you beyond belief.”

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTO ALBUM
West Virginia has successfully administered 435,942 doses after receiving a total allotment of 430,200 doses from the federal government to date; an overall administration rate of 101.3 percent. This number exceeds 100 percent due to extra doses being extracted from vials of the vaccine.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
West Virginia boasts a first dose administration rate of 101.3 percent and a second dose administration rate of 101.4 percent.
  • First doses: 269,670 administered / 266,200 allotted
  • Second doses: 166,272 administered / 164,000 allotted
As of Monday morning, 9.7 percent of West Virginia's entire population has received both doses of the vaccines. West Virginia’s percentage remains among the highest such rates of fully vaccinated residents of any state in the nation.

Gov. Justice went on to announce that free COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be held in all 55 counties across West Virginia once again this week through operation “Save Our Wisdom.”

The clinics are currently available for West Virginians who are 65 years of age and older. To date, 149,684 West Virginians age 65 and older have chosen to be vaccinated, including 77,413 who are now fully vaccinated.
Each clinic location has its own, unique schedule. Names are being pulled from the West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Registration System to fill out appointments after waitlists are exhausted. All clinics require appointments and walk-ins will not be accepted.

West Virginia was the first state in the nation to put a statewide vaccination pre-registration system in place. 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.

To date, more than 279,000 West Virginians have signed up to be added to the pre-registration list.

All West Virginians over the age of 16 are encouraged to pre-register at vaccinate.wv.gov.
Vaccine supplies are limited, so pre-registration does not mean immediate access to vaccination. Pre-registration offers West Virginians the opportunity to receive real-time updates on vaccine availability and schedule an appointment when available as vaccine supplies allow. The vaccine registration system allows people to select their preferences for communication through text, email, or voicemail over regular phone lines.

West Virginians who need assistance with registration for any reason should call the COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line for help at 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.

The Governor went on to say that increased emphasis on pre-registrations is needed in a handful of counties across the state, including Berkeley, Jackson, Jefferson, Mason, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Morgan, and Wayne counties. The Governor urged West Virginians in these counties with friends and family age 65 and older to help these individuals get pre-registered.

GOV. JUSTICE REMINDS WEST VIRGINIANS OF LOOSENED RESTRICTIONS; URGES CONTINUED CAUTION
Also today, Gov. Justice took time to remind West Virginians of his decision last week to loosen several COVID-19 restrictions through a series of executive orders.

The executive orders include:
  • Executive Order 5-21, clarifying the existing prohibition on live indoor music performances.
  • Executive Order 6-21, increasing the capacity limit for all restaurants and bars to 75 percent seating capacity while maintaining social distancing; and raising the social gathering limit to 75 people.
  • Executive Order 7-21, clarifying that all Pre-K-8 students in all counties statewide should be in school.
Additionally, at the direction of Gov. Justice, the DHHR has amended its rules on capacity limitations for small businesses, retail stores, and grocery stores. The Governor also asked the WVSSAC to work with all county school boards to ensure they have occupancy rules or attendance limitations for winter sports.

All of these updates require individuals and businesses to continue following all applicable safety guidelines including, but not limited to, mandatory face coverings and social distancing.

Click here to view all guidance documents

These decisions were made after numerous discussions with members of the West Virginia pandemic response leadership team and other state leaders regarding the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases and the increasing number of vaccinated West Virginians. However, Gov. Justice pointed out today that, if numbers would begin to take a turn for the worse, some or all of these restrictions could potentially be reestablished.

“We’ve got to be fluid in what we do, we’ve got to be able to pivot,” Gov. Justice said. “If things slide back, we may very well have to reinstate restrictions.”

UK VARIANT DETECTED IN WEST VIRGINIA
Additionally, Gov. Justice discussed the DHHR’s announcement Friday evening that three cases of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 – more commonly referred to as the “UK variant” – have been detected in North Central West Virginia.

Nearly every state in the country, including all of West Virginia’s bordering states, have now reported cases of the UK variant, with a total of over 1,500 such cases identified nationwide to date.

The DHHR collaborated with West Virginia University and Marshall University to conduct whole genome sequencing which is used to detect this variant. Using an automated system and next generation sequencing, this team will analyze hundreds of samples per week from across the state to detect new variants that arrive from outside or emerge in the state.

“Everybody is on this, working it in every way,” Gov. Justice said.
State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh also provided his insight on the discovery of the new variant in West Virginia.

“The good news about the United Kingdom variant is the fact that the vaccines we have appear to be effective against it,” Dr. Marsh said. “We know that masks and physical distancing work just as well to reduce the spread of this variant as they do for other forms of COVID-19, and it is also good news that we have been able to put together a team that has worked together to facilitate and help us have the ability to do whole genome sequencing on this virus.

“This collaboration is really a demonstration of the great talent we have in the state – the fact that we are scrappy and resilient and have put together the capabilities to do much for ourselves,” Dr. Marsh continued. “Having this capability now in West Virginia will facilitate and allow us to track very closely any new outbreaks...to be able to survey and surveil the stage as far as positive tests so that we can follow that very closely and also be able to help the CDC with the identification of these types of viruses that might occur in West Virginia.”

GOV. JUSTICE ANNOUNCES VIRTUAL TOWN HALL ON PLAN TO REPEAL STATE INCOME TAX
Also, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to announce that he would be holding a virtual town hall following his briefing on Monday to answer West Virginians’ questions about his Personal Income Tax Repeal Proposal.

“One of the things that I proposed in my State of the State address was the elimination of our state income tax over time,” Gov. Justice said. “It will be an absolute net savings to us all and a real opportunity for those that are really struggling in our state to pull out of those struggles and get a job that will actually pay you more money.

“This is an opportunity for you to ask your questions to me and for me to be able to answer you directly,” Gov. Justice continued. 

Click here to watch Monday’s full town hall
During the town hall later Monday afternoon, Gov. Justice announced that he would be hosting additional such events in the coming weeks to field more questions about his Personal Income Tax Repeal Proposal, beginning with another town hall this Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
CLICK HERE to Submit a Question

GOV. JUSTICE COMMENDS EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO WINTER STORM
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice took time to offer his thanks and praise to the emergency crews that worked through the weekend and continue to work; responding to the damage caused by the recent series of severe winter storms that struck West Virginia over the past two weeks.

“In West Virginia – Jiminy Christmas – we have responded to so much, and yet we continue to step up,” Gov. Justice said. “Our first responders, our police, our fire crews, our EMS, our Highways crews, the National Guard, the power companies, the Emergency Management Division, the volunteer organizations – I mean, heavens to Betsy – it just goes on and on.

“I thank you all from the bottom of my heart,” Gov. Justice continued.

COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state is now 8,795, down from 9,624 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing Friday last week.

The number of daily active cases in West Virginia has now decreased for 37 straight days. 

This past weekend also marked the first time West Virginia has fallen below 9,000 active cases since Nov. 12, 2020.

The number of active hospitalizations is now 294, up slightly from 293 as of Friday last week. Of those currently hospitalized, 80 patients are in the ICU, up from 68 such patients as of Friday last week.

The cumulative percent of positive cases has decreased to 5.51 percent, down from 5.52 percent as of Friday last week.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data

MONDAY MAP UPDATE
Additionally Monday, 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: 0
Orange counties: 10
Gold counties: 9
Yellow counties: 11
Green counties: 25

OUTBREAK REPORT
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now two church-related outbreaks in two counties: Fayette and Webster counties. These outbreaks account for a combined total of 15 cases.

There are now 19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, down from 21 such outbreaks as of the Governor’s previous briefing on Friday last week.

The Governor also reported that there are now just six cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, down from 21 as of Friday last week. Meanwhile, there remain 11 active staff cases across the DCR system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.

AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 51 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.

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, 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

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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