COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice: Young West Virginians must “step up” and get vaccinated; clarifies that $100 savings bond incentive will be retroactive

4/28/2021

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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.
YOUNGER WEST VIRGINIANS AGAIN URGED TO GET VACCINATED; GOVERNOR CLARIFIES $100 SAVINGS BOND INCENTIVE TO BE RETROACTIVE
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice continued to emphasize the importance of having younger West Virginians “step up” and get vaccinated.

“West Virginians from 16 to 35 years of age are transmitting this thing faster than anyone,” Gov. Justice said. “How many people are we going to have to put in body bags? How many people are going to have to die?

“Absolutely, you are the key to this whole thing,” Gov. Justice continued. “You have to step up. It could very well save your life or a loved one’s life, and we’ll send you a savings bond on top of that.”

The Governor echoed his announcement Monday that, in order to encourage more vaccinations among younger residents, West Virginia plans to use a portion of the State’s first allocation of CARES Act dollars to offer a $100 savings bond to each person from 16 to 35 years old who decides to get their vaccine.

During Wednesday’s briefing, the Governor clarified that incentive will be retroactive, meaning all West Virginians ages 16 to 35 who have already been vaccinated will also receive a $100 savings bond.
“If you have been vaccinated and you are 16 to 35 years in age, you will receive the bonds,” Gov. Justice said. “You shouldn’t be thinking, ‘I could get vaccinated today, but they aren’t up and running on these savings bonds.’ Just go get vaccinated. We will make it retroactive so that anyone in this age range that has received their shots will absolutely get their bond.”

Of the 1.47 million West Virginians who are currently eligible, just 52% have received at least one dose to date. The Governor’s goal is to get more than 70% of West Virginia's eligible population vaccinated. 

“What will that do for us? Well, our medical experts tell us that if we get to that number, we’ll shut this pandemic down, we’ll be able to get rid of the masks and get life back to normal,” Gov. Justice said. “This is our chance to stop this pandemic right here. Let’s not let all these folks that we’ve lost die in vain. Our young people have had to stand up a lot of times over the years in West Virginia. Most of the time they were standing up to go to war. I'm not asking for you to go to war. I’m asking you to do something that could very well save your life, or save the life of your mom, your dad, your grandparents, and all your loved ones.”
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION UPDATE
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that the State of West Virginia has now successfully administered 1,242,647 vaccine doses after receiving a total allotment of 1,488,490 doses from the federal government to date; an overall administration rate of 83.5%.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
Factoring in federal partnerships and other vaccination programs, more than 1.35 million vaccine doses have been administered to West Virginians to date.

Out of 1,474,615 eligible residents, 770,295 (52.2%) have received at least one dose, while 607,734 (41.2%) have been fully vaccinated.

Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older. However, West Virginians who are age 65 and older will continue to be prioritized first until all state residents in this age range who desire the vaccine have been vaccinated.

Out of the 367,011 West Virginians age 65 and older, 288,012 (78.5%) have received at least one dose, while 252,085 (68.7%) have been fully vaccinated.

At the Governor’s direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) has established fixed-location vaccination clinics in Berkeley, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties to ensure that every West Virginian age 65 and older has access to a vaccine.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are urged to pre-register for an appointment by visiting vaccinate.wv.gov or by calling 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.
Vaccinations also 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 vaccinefinder.org for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
The JIATF continues to reach out to manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families choosing to be vaccinated by organizing vaccination clinics at these facilities.

Additionally, church leaders are still being 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 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state is now 7,081, down from 7,157 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

There have been 453 new positive cases over the past 24 hours.

The number of active hospitalizations in West Virginia is now 248, down from 260 on Monday. Of those currently hospitalized, 83 are in the ICU, down from 85 on Monday.

The cumulative percent of positive cases is now 5.17%, down from 5.18% on Monday.

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: 2
Orange counties: 5
Gold counties: 6
Yellow counties: 11
Green counties: 31
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now six active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia, up from five such outbreaks as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Monday. The active outbreaks are located in Berkeley, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, and Nicholas counties and account for a total of 75 cases, up from 57 such cases on Monday.

There are now 14 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, up from 12 such outbreaks as of Monday.

The Governor also reported that there are now 78 inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, up from 66 such cases on Monday. Meanwhile, there are now eight active staff cases across the DCR system, down from 10 on Monday. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 52 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
ALL BUSINESSES MUST CONTINUE TO FOLLOW COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to provide a reminder that all businesses in West Virginia must continue to follow all applicable COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Click here to view all active guidance documents
FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT REMAINS IN EFFECT
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.

All West Virginians age 9 and older must 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 requirement does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing or is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, anyone who is at a restaurant and actively consuming food or drink, anyone alone in a closed or physically distanced room, or anyone actively engaged in physical activity indoors.

READ MORE: Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement

All businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the face covering requirement and are responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.

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.
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.
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.
Additional media content, including video clips and/or photos from this event, will be posted on the Governor's Office website as they become available. You can find a link on the thumbnail image at the top of this press release.
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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

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