COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice: West Virginia receives $677 million in federal stimulus dollars through American Rescue Plan

5/17/2021

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Marshall University Men’s Soccer team to play in National Championship Monday at 8 p.m.
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.
STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA RECEIVES OVER $677 MILLION VIA AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that the State of West Virginia has received over $677.7 million of stimulus dollars from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan.

“My staff has been reviewing all the ways this money is needed, and is working on a strategic plan on how we are going to propose that it be spent,” Gov. Justice said. “Next, we will begin reaching out to all of our legislative leadership and working together to get this money out to West Virginians that need it.”

More information will be provided as it becomes available.
ALL 55 COUNTIES TO PARTICIPATE IN SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that, for a second summer in a row, all 55 county boards of education throughout West Virginia will be participating in the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

All 55 counties are providing summer enrichment programs, which include transportation and meal service.

County boards of education account for 375 planned meal service locations for children this summer.

To date, 29 community organizations have enrolled to operate meal service locations this summer – which will add approximately 50 additional sites where meal service is available to children.

“When it really boils right down to it, it’s just what we ought to do,” Gov. Justice said. “There’s already enough tragedy all around. We surely don’t need our kids going hungry.”

The West Virginia Department of Education maintains agreements with institutional and family daycare home sponsors to operate federal child nutrition meal service to children.

Currently, there are 3,522 participating child care sites throughout the state that are providing care and meal service to children. This includes operations during the summer.

“I want to, again, say a special thanks to our State Board of Education under the leadership of President Miller Hall and all the 55 county boards who are helping with our kids, to make sure that they’re fed,” Gov. Justice said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
FIFTEEN COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEMS HOSTING VACCINATION CLINICS THIS WEEK
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice announced that 15 county school systems across West Virginia are scheduled to hold vaccination clinics this week.

Last week, the U.S. FDA and U.S. CDC both authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in children ages 12-15.

The West Virginia Department of Education estimates that there are 78,000 students in this age range across the state who are newly eligible to be vaccinated. All of these students will be able to receive a vaccine with the permission of their parents or guardians.

“At these clinics, we will also offer vaccines to all eligible West Virginians, including any other students, parents, and educators,” Gov. Justice said. “Just remember, these clinics aren’t just for 12-to-15-year-olds, they’re for anyone who chooses to show up and get vaccinated.

“We’ve got plenty of supply and many, many locations,” Gov. Justice continued. “Absolutely, go get vaccinated.”
GOV. JUSTICE WISHES GOOD LUCK TO MARSHALL UNIVERSITY MEN’S SOCCER TEAM AHEAD OF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH MONDAY
Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to offer his congratulations to the Marshall University Men’s Soccer team for advancing to the college soccer National Championship.

The Governor, himself an alumnus of Marshall University, went on to wish the team good luck ahead of their title match Monday night. The match will air live at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

“They are on the cusp and they have a real shot to bring home a National Championship to this great state,” Gov. Justice said. “Just the other night they beat the University of North Carolina, 1-0. Prior to that they beat the number one ranked team in the country, Clemson, and they also beat the defending champions, Georgetown.

“They play Indiana tonight, and I’m sure they’ll show up in every way,” Gov. Justice continued. “Let’s all get together and be united and root Marshall on to victory tonight and bring a National Championship to West Virginia. That would be phenomenal beyond belief.”
FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT LIFTED FRIDAY FOR THOSE FULLY VACCINATED
Gov. Justice offered a reminder to all West Virginians that last week he signed Executive Order 16-21, modifying West Virginia’s face covering requirement in accordance with the latest CDC guidance that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, regardless of crowd size.

The Governor once again emphasized that the lifting of the face covering requirement only applies to those who have been fully vaccinated; meaning that at least two weeks have elapsed since the administration of a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or that at least two weeks have elapsed since the administration of a first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement is still in effect for all West Virginians who are not yet fully vaccinated, and will remain in effect for these individuals until June 20, 2021.

Face coverings must still be worn where required by federal/state/local laws. Additionally, any private business or school system can still require individuals to wear a face covering.

“This policy is based on the honor system, so I encourage all West Virginians to get their vaccine so they no longer have to wear a mask,” Gov. Justice said.
VACCINATE.WV.GOV
As part of the Governor’s recently announced “Call to Arms” vaccine initiative, State COVID-19 pandemic response leaders have set goals of vaccinating 65% of all eligible West Virginians, 75% of West Virginians age 50 and older, and 85% of West Virginians age 65 and older with at least one dose by West Virginia’s 158th birthday on June 20, 2021; the same day that the Governor plans to lift the Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement for all residents.
GOVERNOR REMINDS WEST VIRGINIANS THAT FEDERALLY FUNDED UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION PROGRAMS TO END JUNE 19
The Governor also reminded all West Virginians of the announcement last week that the State will end all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs in West Virginia, effective June 19 at midnight.

“West Virginians have access to thousands of jobs right now and we need everyone back to work. Our small businesses and economy depend on it,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m not talking to the people that are really struggling and honestly trying to get back to work. I’m talking to the people that are out there that have decided to take the money from the federal government and just ride along. I think you need to be back to work. In fact, we need you back to work. Our small businesses depend on you so badly, it’s unbelievable.

“We’re also considering – and we do not have it finalized yet – but we’re strongly considering matching what any company puts up, up to $500, as an incentive bonus for anyone who comes back to work and works for at least 90 days in that job,” Gov. Justice continued. “So if a company decides to put up $500, we’ll put up $500, and we’ll basically have an incentive bonus of $1,000.”

More information will be provided as it becomes available.
VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 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.

West Virginia is offering a $100 incentive to all residents ages 16-35 to encourage younger residents to get vaccinated. More information on this program will be provided as it becomes available. The $100 incentive will be retroactive, meaning all West Virginians ages 16-35 who have already been vaccinated will also receive their $100 incentive.

The Governor also offered a reminder that free COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be held at all West Virginia State Parks and State Forests between now and Memorial Day. Several state park and forest locations will host clinics prior to Memorial Day. Then, on Memorial Day weekend, all West Virginia State Parks and Forests will offer vaccines to employees, employees’ families, and park guests. Further details will be posted at wvstateparks.com as they become available.

West Virginia also continues to implement several new ideas to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible than ever.

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 go to vaccines.gov for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
The Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) on COVID-19 vaccines continues to ask manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families by reaching out to the JIATF to organize vaccination clinics at their facilities. Additionally, church leaders are still urged to contact the JIATF for help organizing vaccination clinics for interested members of their congregations.

Anyone interested in organizing one of these vaccination clinics is asked to contact the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.
COVID-19 VACCINATION AND CASE 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 and additional features.

The dashboard is updated Monday-Friday at 10 a.m.
On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now nine active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia, up from eight such outbreaks as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Friday last week. The active outbreaks are located in Greenbrier, Hardy, Jackson, Nicholas, Ritchie, and Wetzel counties and account for a total of 158 cases, up from 152 such cases on Friday last week.

There are now 16 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, down from 17 such outbreaks on Friday last week.

The Governor also reported that there are now 10 active inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, down from 13 such cases on Friday last week. Meanwhile, there are now four active staff cases across the DCR system, down from seven such cases on Friday last week. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 50 counties across the state that currently 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 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
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 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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