COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice reports new record highs for hospitalizations, mostly among the unvaccinated


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 Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia has once again set a new record number of COVID-related hospitalizations for the entire pandemic, with 893 individuals currently in hospitals across the state.

COVID-19 Dashboard |

The number of West Virginians in ICUs has once again set a new record high of 275 patients. The number of West Virginians on ventilators is up to 160 patients; just three shy of the all-time record in this category as well.

“We know that, for the most part, we’re dealing with a disease that is attacking the unvaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “If you’re still unvaccinated, you need to make a great decision right now and get yourself vaccinated.”
Approximately 84% of West Virginians who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated and over 90% of those in ICUs with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

On Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to illustrate just how overwhelming of a majority these numbers are, showing a pair of infographics visualizing what these percentages look like.
“You can see, there’s no getting away from it. It’s all around everywhere,” Gov. Justice said. “The only way you’re really going to stand a great chance to get away from it is to be vaccinated.”
“More and more people are dying every day,” Gov. Justice continued. “More and more, there is a need for you to get vaccinated to save your life and the lives of your loved ones around you.”

The statewide death toll from COVID-19 reached 3,296 on Wednesday, with 58 more deaths being reported since the Governor's previous briefing just two days ago, including 14 such deaths reported yesterday as a result of the DHHR’s data reconciliation with official death certificates.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now reached 27,674; up from 27,607 as of the Governor’s previous briefing on Monday.

Meanwhile, the County Alert System map now shows that 52 of the state’s 55 counties are now in either the highest-risk Red category or one step below in the Orange category.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is fully FDA-approved for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

“We had 4,200 people that have been vaccinated since the last briefing,” Gov. Justice said. “There’s no question whatsoever, we will save some of those people’s lives. But it’s not enough.”

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are encouraged to visit 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.
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has decreased once again, dropping two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.8% in August 2021.

West Virginia’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest mark since before the pandemic, reaching 4.8% for the first time since June 2019.

The state’s unemployment rate has declined for 16 consecutive months and remains better than the national unemployment rate of 5.2%.

“Our unemployment rate in this state is unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said. “No one is more proud of that than myself. It takes a lot of work from a lot of people to make something like this happen. We should be really proud, all throughout the state, of how we’ve pushed the right buttons.”

The number of unemployed state residents decreased by 1,700 to 38,200. Meanwhile, total employment grew 1,500 over the month.

Since August 2020, total nonfarm payroll employment has increased 24,100.

Click here to view WorkForce West Virginia’s most recent Labor Force Summary

Click here to view available jobs in West Virginia

“We want to just keep pouring it on,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia, you’re doing great work. The economy of this state is in good shape and we want to keep it moving that way.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 87 active outbreaks in 33 counties within the state public school system.

Seven schools and one entire county school system – Preston County – are currently closed due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)

A total of 53 county school systems have either face covering requirements or a criteria for requiring face coverings. The remaining two counties – Pocahontas and Putnam counties – do not have face covering requirements at this time.

WV Department of Education COVID-19 Updates
There are now three active outbreaks associated with churches throughout West Virginia. The churches are located in Monroe, Raleigh, and Wayne counties.

Additionally, there are now 76 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

Meanwhile, there are now 210 active inmate cases and 49 active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
Gov. Justice signed Executive Order 25-21 on Wednesday, relating to the tax assessment of personal property owned in West Virginia. 

This year, the automobile values for used cars are artificially inflated and the personal property taxes assessed on West Virginians' automobiles would therefore be artificially high, primarily due to supply issues created by the coronavirus pandemic. To help West Virginians avoid paying higher property taxes because of supply issues caused by the pandemic, the order suspends applicable provisions of a regulatory tax statute only to the extent necessary to account for the used car prices being artificially inflated.

Instead of relying solely on current prices, the order directs the Tax Commissioner to compile a schedule of automobile values based on the lowest values shown in a nationally accepted used car guide from the current year or the previous year, whichever is lower. This schedule will then be given to each assessor and be used by the several county assessors to determine the assessed value for all motor vehicles.
Online registration is now open for Round 2 of the “Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” Vaccination Sweepstakes.

All West Virginians who have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can register at for an opportunity to join the list of winners. Over 206,000 West Virginians have already registered for Round 2 of the sweepstakes.

*Those who previously registered for Round 1 of the vaccination sweepstakes are required to register again to be eligible for Round 2*
Each week, five vaccinated West Virginia students ages 12-25 will win 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.

Additional weekly prizes for vaccinated West Virginians ages 18+ include:
  • Luxury high-end sports car
  • Custom fishing or pontoon boat
  • $150,000 toward the wedding of your dreams
  • Free gas for 10 years
  • WVU football or basketball season ticket package for two
  • Marshall football or basketball season ticket package for two
  • 2021-2022 season passes for two to a ski resort in West Virginia
  • Premium ATV or side-by-side
  • Top-of-the-line zero turn lawn mower
The next set of prize winners will be announced tomorrow: Thursday, Sept. 16.

While the registration deadline to be eligible for this week's giveaway has passed, vaccinated West Virginians are still able to register for future drawings.

Prize drawings will be held weekly, with winners being announced each Thursday through Oct. 7.
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reminded West Virginia Granfamilies 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.
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Jordan Damron,


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