COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces more than 80% of West Virginians age 65 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine

5/10/2021

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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.
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION UPDATE: OVER 80% OF RESIDENTS AGE 65 AND UP HAVE NOW RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that more than 80% of West Virginians age 65 and older have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s amazing. It's great stuff,” Gov. Justice said. “This is the number that I’m constantly looking at and so proud of. We got after vaccinating our elderly folks. It started with those 80 and up, and then it drifted on down to 65.”
The Governor went on to add that over 71% of West Virginians age 65 and older are now fully vaccinated.

“How many lives have we saved?” Gov. Justice said. “Now, we all need to continue to stand up and get vaccinated.”

The State of West Virginia has now administered 1,331,345 vaccine doses out of a total allotment of 1,561,480 doses from the federal government; an overall administration rate of 85.3%.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
Factoring in federal partnerships and other vaccination programs, more than 1.43 million vaccine doses have been administered to West Virginians to date.

Out of 1,474,615 eligible West Virginians, 810,232 (54.9%) have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 680,025 (46.1%) have been fully vaccinated.
GOVERNOR AGAIN OUTLINES GOALS OF “CALL TO ARMS” VACCINATION INITIATIVE
Once again Monday, Gov. Justice discussed the “Call to Arms” vaccine initiative that he announced last week to encourage more West Virginians to choose to get vaccinated.

The goals of the initiative are to vaccinate 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.

The Governor noted Monday that, with over 800,000 West Virginians having now received at least one dose, the percentage of eligible residents with at least one shot is approaching 55%.

“I think we can get to 65%. That’s only 10% more,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re close, and I know we’ll be plenty more close by June 20th when we get rid of the masks.”

The Governor went on to say that he is once again asking West Virginians who have already been vaccinated to ask their loved ones to be vaccinated as well, especially younger West Virginians ages 16-35 years old.

“We can get there,” Gov. Justice continued. “You’ve just got to really help me, West Virginia.”
In the meantime, the Governor’s 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.

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.
VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older. However, the U.S. FDA and CDC are expected to authorize use of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 12-15 soon.

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. The Governor added Monday that his office is exploring multiple options to pay out on the incentive, including the possibility of either an electronic savings bond or a gift card. More information will be provided as it becomes available. However, the Governor once again confirmed that the program 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 reach out to manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families by organizing vaccination clinics at these 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.
“BIG THREE” CREDIT RATING AGENCIES AFFIRM ROADS TO PROSPERITY BOND RATINGS
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to announce that all of the “Big Three” credit rating agencies have affirmed their Roads To Prosperity Highway Bond ratings ahead of West Virginia’s third sale of road bonds, which is scheduled to take place within the coming weeks.

“This is terrific news. It’s so good, it’s unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said. “Many people coming through this terrible pandemic cannot say that they were approved by all three of these agencies in a way that kept us the same as before the pandemic.”

These agencies – Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Group – reaffirmed their bond ratings of “Aa2”, “AA-”, and “AA”, respectively.

We’re approved. We’re stable. Everything was great. Why wouldn’t it be?” Gov. Justice said. “We have just been moving ourselves forward in West Virginia for some time now.

“I’m very, very proud of all those who have put in the licks to make this happen,” Gov. Justice continued.

So far, over $1.1 billion worth of major infrastructure improvement projects through Gov. Justice’s Roads To Prosperity program have either been completed to date or are currently underway with the funding from the first two rounds of bond sales.

West Virginia’s last road bond sale in 2019 generated over $746.5 million in proceeds, resulting in a premium of $146.5 million.

“We’re going to continue to do more and more road work,” Gov. Justice said Monday. “Our goal is to have the best roads, not what we’ve had in the past. These roads didn’t get this way on my watch. But what is going to happen on my watch is these roads are going to get in great shape.”
WEST VIRGINIA STATE PARK JOB FAIRS
Gov. Justice also took time Monday to announce that the West Virginia State Parks system will host an on-site and virtual job fair at Pipestem Resort State Park tomorrow – Tuesday, May 11 – from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. to recruit people for jobs at the park.

The job fair is hosted in partnership with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and Workforce West Virginia.

The on-site job fair will be held at 46 Canyon Way, Pipestem, WV 25979.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR VIRTUAL JOB FAIR
“We continue to recruit people for jobs. It’s a good, good thing,” Gov. Justice said. “Every time we have more and more jobs to offer, at the end of the day, if we stay on our game, we’ll have more and more people come to West Virginia.”
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Gov. Justice reported Monday that the current number of active cases in the state is now 6,983, down from 7,075 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Friday last week.

There have been 211 new positive cases and three deaths reported over the past 24 hours.

The number of active hospitalizations in West Virginia is now 246, up from 241 on Friday last week. Of those currently hospitalized, 78 are in the ICU, down from 79 on Friday last week.

The cumulative percent of positive cases remains 5.14%.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
MONDAY MAP UPDATE
Also on 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: 2
Orange counties: 10
Gold counties: 14
Yellow counties: 7
Green counties: 22
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there remain nine active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia. The active outbreaks are located in Berkeley, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Jackson, Nicholas, and Ritchie counties and account for a total of 80 cases.

There remain 16 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

The Governor also reported that there are now eight inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, up from four such cases as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Friday last week. Meanwhile, there remain 12 active staff cases across the DCR system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 51 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
DONATE BLOOD AND PLASMA
Once again Monday, Gov. Justice 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.
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Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

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