COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice extends “Do it for Babydog: Round 2” sweepstakes to encourage more vaccinations


Registration now open through Tuesday, Oct. 5
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.
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that, in order to provide more time to allow more West Virginians to get vaccinated, he has extended the “Do it for Babydog: Round 2” sweepstakes registration deadline.

West Virginians now have until Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 11:59 p.m. EDT to get vaccinated and register at for a chance to win in the final prize drawing of “Do it for Babydog: Round 2.”

The final prize drawing will also be pushed back to the following Tuesday, Oct. 12.

“I’m postponing so we can give more and more people time to get registered and get vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “The only way in the world we’re going to stop this pandemic is to get vaccinated, and for those that have been fully vaccinated for over six months and are eligible, you’ve got to get your booster shot.”

Gov. Justice noted Friday that the statewide death toll from COVID-19 has now reached 3,722, with 80 more deaths being reported since his previous briefing on Wednesday.

“Do you want me to continue to read 80 West Virginians that we’ve lost every other day?” Gov. Justice asked. “We can stop it. But we need to get vaccinated.

“We only had 3,100 people get vaccinated since the last time I was here,” Gov. Justice continued. “Really and truly, it’s not enough, unless you want me to roll in here with the death lottery and read 80 names – and you or one of your loved ones could be one of them.”
The final round of prizes that will be given away include a 2021 Chevrolet Corvette and five more full ride scholarships to any public college or university in the state, including room and board, tuition, and books; a prize valued at over $100,000.

Additional prizes include a custom boat, a dream wedding valued at $150,000, free gas for 10 years, premium ATVs, top-of-the-line zero turn lawn mowers, WVU and Marshall University football or basketball season ticket packages, and season passes to West Virginia ski resorts.

*Those who previously registered for Round 1 of the vaccination sweepstakes are required to register again to be eligible for Round 2*
Gov. Justice recapped his journey across the state yesterday to surprise some of the biggest winners from the fifth week of prize giveaways as part of his “Do it for Babydog: Round 2” Vaccination Sweepstakes.

First Thursday, Gov. Justice surprised Ashlee Wilcher at George Washington High School in Kanawha County, announcing that she had won a full four-year scholarship to any public college or university in the state, including room and board, tuition, and books; a prize valued at over $100,000.
Later in the day, Gov. Justice surprised both Lilly Keith from Buckhannon-Upshur High School in Upshur County and Mason Thompson from Philip Barbour High School in Barbour County, announcing that they, too, were among this week's full ride college scholarship winners.
While at BUHS, the Governor also recognized Benjamin Currence and Jacob Dodd; two previous scholarship winners through the sweepstakes.
Chase Donaldson of Summersville and Angela Watts of Cross Lanes were also drawn as scholarship winners this week.

Finally Thursday, Gov. Justice surprised Jeffery Darnell of Morgantown at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center, announcing that he had been drawn as the winner of a new 2021 Chevrolet Corvette.
A total of 25 West Virginians were announced as “Do it for Babydog” winners Thursday, taking home a variety of exciting prizes, including those mentioned above as well as a custom boat, a dream wedding valued at $150,000, free gas for 10 years, premium ATVs, top-of-the-line zero turn lawn mowers, WVU and Marshall University football or basketball season ticket packages, and season passes to West Virginia ski resorts.

During his briefing Friday, Gov. Justice also took time to deliver a special “thank you” to Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus.

Dr. Lewis-Stankus was on hand for Thursday’s scholarship presentation at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and wrote a letter to the Governor about the “Do it for Babydog” sweepstakes.
“We are so impressed that our Governor is so committed to the vaccination and safety of the individuals in our state that he is taking time from his very busy schedule to personally deliver scholarships to our students in Upshur County. Having three scholarship winners at Buckhannon Upshur High is beyond our imagination. What a blessing to the families and students! And Babydog was the superstar of the day! Thanks again to our Governor for his personal touch!”
-Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus
“My wife Cathy talked a lot about Upshur County and Dr. Lewis-Stankus before I went up there, and she said, ‘You won’t believe how great this county is doing,’” Gov. Justice said during Friday’s briefing. “The county has Communities In Schools now and that’s going great. This superintendent is doing a fabulous job.”
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 14,014 active cases of COVID-19 statewide; up by 670 cases since the Governor’s previous briefing on Wednesday. However, the active case count is down overall by 15,730 cases since peaking two weeks ago, dropping 52.9% in just 14 days.

Meanwhile, a small downward trend has emerged in the number of hospitalizations, patients in ICUs, and patients on ventilators across West Virginia.

The number of hospitalizations is now 958; down from a peak of 1,012 on Sept. 24.

The number of patients in ICUs is now 269; down from a peak of 296 on Sept. 29.

The number of patients on ventilators is now 172; down from a peak of 195 on Sept. 25.

COVID-19 Dashboard |

“These numbers are more reason for us to believe that the eye of the storm is right on us and maybe even starting to move past us just a little bit,” Gov. Justice said. “There’s no guarantee, but I really believe that we’re going through a little bit of a pause and we’ll start to fall off.”

The County Alert System map now shows that 46 of the state’s 55 counties are in either the highest-risk Red category or one step below in the Orange category. Meanwhile, three counties are Gold, four counties are Yellow, and two counties are Green.
With the percentage of fully vaccinated residents hospitalized for COVID-19 slowly creeping higher in recent weeks, Gov. Justice took time during his briefing Friday to encourage all West Virginians to determine if they qualify for a booster dose and then get one if they are eligible.

“What this tells us is that you’ve got to get your booster shots if you’re eligible,” Gov. Justice said.

West Virginians who received specifically the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine  may qualify for the booster shot if it has been at least six months since their second dose.

The CDC recommends that:
  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings SHOULD receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their second dose of Pfizer.
  • People aged 50–64 years with *underlying medical conditions SHOULD receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their second dose of Pfizer.
  • People aged 18–49 years with *underlying medical conditions MAY receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their second Pfizer dose, based on their individual benefits and risks.
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting MAY receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their second Pfizer dose, based on their individual benefits and risks.
* = Underlying medical conditions: State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh noted last week that the list of underlying medical conditions that would qualify an individual to receive the booster shot is extremely broad and includes anybody who is overweight, has high blood pressure, is a current or former smoker, has heart or lung conditions, is diabetic, is pregnant, has liver or kidney disease, has received a transplant, has cancer, has substance use disorder, has HIV, has had a stroke or other brain disorder, has dementia or other neurologic disease, has Down Syndrome, has sickle cell anemia, and more.

Click here to read more (via CDC)
On Friday last week, Gov. Justice announced that pandemic response teams were already on the move getting booster shots to at-risk residents following their long-awaited federal approval.

If you are eligible for the booster shot, you can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with your vaccination card to receive the booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.
Gov. Justice also announced that he signed a letter this morning requesting that President Biden approve West Virginia’s request for more doses of the monoclonal antibody treatment.

“We need them, but we’re not getting as many doses as we would like to get,” Gov. Justice said.

State medical experts say that, while not a replacement for the vaccine, these types of antibody treatments can be a life-saving tool for individuals already infected with COVID-19, particularly if administered quickly after infection.
On Friday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 69 school outbreaks in 28 counties with 836 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)

A total of 54 county school systems have either face covering requirements or a criteria for requiring face coverings. Only one county – Pocahontas County – does not have a face covering requirement at this time.

WV Department of Education COVID-19 Updates
There is now just one active outbreak associated with a church throughout West Virginia. The church is located in Wayne County.

Meanwhile, there are now 73 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

Additionally, there are now 234 active inmate cases and 58 active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice reminded West Virginia Grandfamilies that registration is now underway for the Healthy Grandfamilies vaccination incentive program.

The program offers a $150 voucher for back-to-school supplies to all vaccinated grandfamilies in West Virginia – families where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren.
To qualify, all vaccine-eligible members of the grandfamily, including grandparents and grandchildren ages 12 and older, must have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The family must also be enrolled in West Virginia State University’s Healthy Grandfamilies program. Enroll at

Healthy Grandfamilies, which provides information and resources to grandparents who are raising one or more grandchildren, is assisting in the administration of the school voucher incentive. According to the organization, about 19,000 West Virginia children live in households with a grandparent or grandparents as their primary caregiver.
With flu season just around the corner, Gov. Justice and State health officials took time Friday to 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.
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to announce that he has proclaimed October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month in West Virginia. 

“This month we are partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to bring awareness to cyber threats and internet safety measures,” Gov. Justice said. “I proudly signed the Secure West Virginia Act into law in 2019, which creates the framework for managing cybersecurity risks and enhancing cybersecurity in the state.”

The goal of the campaign is to help ensure West Virginians understand how to use the internet more safely in their everyday lives and to ensure all public agencies are familiar with the resources available to them to prevent and respond to a cyber attack.
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