COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces West Virginia reaches U.S.-leading 93.7 percent 1st dose vaccination rate; secures more therapeutic treatments

1/15/2021

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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.
WEST VIRGINIA CONTINUES TO SET THE BAR FOR VACCINE DISTRIBUTION
During today’s briefing, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia continues to lead the nation in the rate of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.

According to the latest vaccine numbers posted to the COVID-19 Dashboard Friday afternoon, West Virginia is now up to a 1st dose administration rate of 93.7 percent.

If you adjust for Friday’s numbers on Bloomberg.com’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, West Virginia’s administration rate is more than 20 percent ahead of second place North Dakota.
West Virginia also remains the top-ranked state in the country for vaccine distribution on a per capita basis, according to the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker.
“West Virginia continues to lead the nation, but that’s not good enough for us,” Gov. Justice said. “While everybody else is trying to figure out a system or standing around, twiddling their thumbs, West Virginia is not only leading the nation, we want to lap the field.

“The bottom line to what is happening in West Virginia right now is just simply this: when we get the vaccines in on Monday, come Sunday nightfall we’re trying, with all in us, to not have one single vaccine on the shelf,” Gov. Justice continued.

West Virginia has recorded a 2nd dose administration rate of 80.0 percent.

To date, West Virginia has administered 124,325 1st doses and 22,612 second doses, totaling 146,937 doses administered overall statewide. In just the past 24 hours, 12,388 vaccines have been administered.

Every 1st dose of vaccine that has been delivered to the state has either already been administered or is assigned to a name to be administered in the next few days.

“We can only give you the vaccines that we have,” Gov. Justice said. “But we continue to push the federal government and, through that, I know that our number of our doses of this incredibly wonderful vaccine are going to go up.”

Click here to view photo album
Gov. Justice also highlighted several national news articles recognizing West Virginia's success with COVID-19 vaccine distribution:
The simple reason West Virginia leads the nation in vaccinating nursing home residents
“State and local leadership can make a difference. While a lack of federal leadership has been cited as a reason for the slow vaccine rollout, West Virginia succeeded in vaccinating nursing homes because it could be more nimble outside the federal program. State and local leaders can succeed when they are held accountable and when they proactively manage the process.”
-Tinglong Dai, The Conversation

Media Play Partisan Games with COVID-Vaccination Stats
“Right now, West Virginia is doing a bang-up job of getting its residents vaccinated, and just about every other state should be looking over that state’s collective shoulder and asking, ‘Hey, what are they doing right that we ought to be doing, too?’”
-Jim Geraghty, National Review
The Governor also once again provided a reminder that the State has launched a new COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line to help West Virginians get information on the distribution process and availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

VACCINE INFO LINE: 1-833-734-0965

The line operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Visit vaccinate.wv.gov for more information, including details on vaccine availability and other frequently asked questions.
OPERATION “SAVE OUR WISDOM” VACCINATION CLINICS
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice provided an update on the 14 COVID-19 vaccine clinics that have been held across the state this week through operation “Save Our Wisdom.”

Approximately 6,300 vaccines in total were allocated to these clinics this week.

“All of them will be finished with all of their vaccines today. That’s really good stuff,” Gov. Justice said. “As operation ‘Save Our Wisdom’ continues to ramp up, I encourage all West Virginians who are 70 years of age and older to take advantage of this opportunity to receive these life-saving vaccines.”

The Governor went on to add that 17 vaccine clinics will be held across the state next week.

“We will continue to follow the same regional community vaccination approach,” Gov. Justice said. “My team met today with all counties to encourage them to begin planning for future events as our vaccine supply increases.”
“I want to be clear, all our counties play an important part in getting folks vaccinated,” Gov. Justice continued. “This is an all-of-West Virginia approach and we need each of our partners at the table in order to maintain our success.”

These free vaccination clinics are for West Virginia residents only. Many clinics require appointments and walk-ins will not be accepted unless it is specifically designated as a walk-in clinic.

Gov. Justice will announce the schedule for the next round of clinics at a future COVID-19 briefing. The information will also be posted on vaccinate.wv.gov when it becomes available.
While the SOW program still only applies to those among the general population age 70 and older at this time, the Governor once again said that, in accordance with recent CDC recommendations, he plans to decrease the age requirement to 65 as soon as the state’s vaccine supply from the federal government makes doing so possible.

The Governor was also joined during Friday’s briefing by Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department Executive Director Chad Bundy and Health Officer Dr. Nancy Joseph.

Yesterday, the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department held a SOW clinic where staff administered the 1st dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to 550 residents from six counties across North Central West Virginia. All who were vaccinated left with an appointment to receive their 2nd dose.
ADDITIONAL THERAPEUTIC TREATMENTS SECURED
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice announced that his recent request to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for additional doses of therapeutic COVID-19 treatments like monoclonal antibodies has been approved.

As a result, West Virginia will receive 267 more doses of these lifesaving treatments by next week, on top of the amount normally received.

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

The Governor went on to again urge all West Virginians over the age of 65 who test positive for COVID-19 to ask their doctor if they qualify for this type of treatment.
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – has improved to 0.90; the best such rate of any state in the country.

The Governor added that the current number of active cases in the state is now 27,016, down from 27,982 active cases during the Governor’s previous COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

West Virginia has recorded 1,430 new positive cases over the past 24 hours.

The number of active hospitalizations is now 717 patients, down from 765 on Wednesday, with 195 of those patients currently in the ICU.

The cumulative percent of positive cases remains 5.46 percent.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
FRIDAY MAP UPDATE
Also on Friday, 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: 33 (Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Grant, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Jackson, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Mingo, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, Ritchie, Summers, Tyler, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood)
Orange counties: 16 (Barbour, Cabell, Fayette, Greenbrier, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Logan, Mercer, Monongalia, Pleasants, Putnam, Raleigh, Roane, Taylor, Wyoming)
Gold counties: 5 (Lewis, McDowell, Mineral, Tucker, Upshur)
Yellow counties: 1 (Clay)
Green counties: 0
DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab)
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia has nine active church-related outbreaks across five counties: Marion, McDowell, Mingo, Nicholas, and Summers counties. These outbreaks account for a total of 114 cases.

There are now 99 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, down from 105 outbreaks on Wednesday.

The Governor also reported that there are now 136 active inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, down significantly from 380 such inmate cases as of Wednesday. Meanwhile, there are now 39, active staff cases across the DCR system, up from 37 on Wednesday.

Click here to view the latest corrections facility update
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 49 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 Friday, 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.
WEST VIRGINIANS CALLED UPON TO DONATE BLOOD AND PLASMA
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice once again encouraged all West Virginians to consider donating blood and plasma through the American Red Cross.

In the Governor’s recent call with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Vice President Mike Pence said that there is still a shortage of plasma and blood all across the nation.

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 is being evaluated as a possible 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 Friday, 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.
GOV. JUSTICE “HONORED” TO ATTEND CHUCK YEAGER’S MEMORIAL SERVICE
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to pay tribute to native West Virginian Brig. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, on this, the day of memorial services celebrating his life.

“I had the real honor to attend General Yeager’s funeral,” Gov. Justice said. “I was sitting there watching a video play of all the dramatic things that he has done. He flew hundreds of different types of airplanes. He flew all kinds of fighter missions. Not only did he break the sound barrier, but he was also a commander of troops.”
Vice President Mike Pence also attended the memorial and provided remarks in honor of General Yeager.

“He absolutely was so special to our state, to this nation. He was a hero beyond belief,” Gov. Justice said. “I am so glad that I was able to attend today.”
Pictured: Gov. Justice attending memorial services for Chuck Yeager in Charleston on Friday. Click here to view more photos from the memorial.
WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD TO ASSIST IN WASHINGTON D.C.
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice took time to announce that he has authorized, at the request of the National Guard Bureau, up to an additional 275 West Virginia National Guardsmen and women to assist in Washington, D.C. with the inauguration activities.

Click here to read more via the WVNG
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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Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

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