COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice to unvaccinated: “You don’t need to die and you don’t need to get sick to make a point.”


Patients in ICUs, on ventilators set to surpass record highs
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 647 West Virginians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; the highest number of hospitalizations in over seven months.

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Of the patients currently hospitalized, 202 are in the ICU and 102 are on ventilators. Both of these numbers continue to rapidly approach the all-time records in West Virginia. The number of ICU patients topped out at 219 during the biggest case surge to-date in January. The number of patients on ventilators topped out at 104.

The Governor continued his urgent plea for more West Virignians to choose to get vaccinated immediately.

“You’ve got to help me by getting vaccinated. It’s the only way out of this,” Gov. Justice said. “This thing is doing anything but getting better; it continues to get worse, and as long as we still have a significant population that’s unvaccinated, it’s going to continue to get worse.”
“I just don’t understand. Across the board, whether it’s President Trump, Jim Justice, the current administration – no matter who it may be – everybody is encouraging you to get vaccinated,” Gov. Justice continued. “I just read 32 new deaths today and we all know that when I’m back here in two days, it’ll be more and more.

“You don't need to die and you don't need to get sick to make a point.”

The Governor also reported that the statewide death toll from COVID-19 reached 3,106 on Wednesday.

He spotlighted a social media post by Charleston news reporter Kennie Bass, who noted that the death toll is now higher than the total populations of over 350 communities across West Virginia.

“Pick a place: Nutter Fort, Petersburg, Cedar Grove, Rupert, Mitchell Heights, Itmann, Whitesville, and on and on. What if we picked one of those places and said every single person in that community had died?” Gov. Justice said. “It’s unbelievable. The only way that we know to get out of this is to get vaccinated.”

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now reached 17,664; an increase of nearly 1,300 new cases since Monday and the state’s highest number of active cases in nearly seven months.

The County Alert System map now shows that 52 of the state’s 55 counties are either in the Red or Orange categories. A total of 37 counties are currently Red and 15 are Orange.
Gov. Justice went on to report that over 2,800 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since Monday.

“That’s nowhere close to enough,” Gov. Justice said.

Last week, the U.S. FDA officially gave its full stamp of approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease 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.

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.
Gov. Justice also announced that his State of Emergency declaration remains in effect for all 55 West Virginia counties due to the increasing threat of flash flooding from now-Tropical Depression Ida.

Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected to occur through today, with locally higher amounts of up to 6 inches possible. West Virginia has received several inches of rainfall recently, which has primed soils and rivers for potential flooding.

The Governor was joined Wednesday by Greg Fuller, Deputy Director of the West Virginia Emergency Management Division, who provided an update on the State’s emergency preparations and response to Ida.

“At the Governor’s orders, we have been continuously monitoring the situation across the state,” Deputy Director Fuller said.

Despite significant flooding issues in southern West Virginia overnight, especially Clay County, and additional flooding reported in central, northern, and eastern West Virginia today, no deaths associated with this event have been reported.

Swift water rescue teams are moving to the Eastern Panhandle to stage there as the storm moves northeast.

“Our National Guard partners have certainly prepositioned assets,” Fuller said. “We continue to monitor the situation. Our emergency operations center has been moved from partial activation to full activation.”

“You’ve done great work,” Gov. Justice said.  “I know you’ll stay on top of it and we’ll all be standing in the wings and ready to help in any way we can.”
Gov. Justice also offered a reminder that he recently announced the launch of an initiative that will provide 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.

Healthy Grandfamilies – which provides information and resources to grandparents who are raising one or more grandchildren – will assist 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.

“What would we do with 19,000 kids if we lost their grandparents to this dreaded disease?” Gov. Justice said Wednesday. “We really need to get these families vaccinated.”

Registration for the school voucher incentive will begin next Tuesday, Sept. 7.

For more information, visit
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.

Those who previously registered for the original vaccination sweepstakes are required to register again to be eligible for “Do it for Babydog: 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.

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 first set of prize winners will be announced this Thursday, Sept. 2. 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.

To date, over 160,000 West Virginians have registered for Round 2 of the sweepstakes.

Prize drawings will be held weekly, with winners being announced each Thursday through Oct. 7.
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are now 46 active outbreaks within the state public school system.

Click to view: COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)

There are now four active outbreaks associated with churches throughout West Virginia. The churches are located in Barbour, Doddridge, Taylor, and Wayne counties.

Additionally, there are 48 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

As of the latest update, there are now 180 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.
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia’s General Revenue collections for August 2021 came in at $29.9 million above estimates and 15.7% ahead of prior year receipts.

“The State of West Virginia continues just to percolate along and do absolutely wonderful,” Gov. Justice said. “If you'll think back a few years, we had doom and gloom all the time. Now, all I do is continue to report to you good number after good number.”

Year-to-date, general revenue collections are $58 million above estimates.

“Our growth continues from the standpoint of all kinds of different sectors, whether it be personal income tax collections, sales taxes, or even our severance taxes,” Gov. Justice said. “The State is doing wonderful. We're on really rock solid ground and we're just gonna keep building on it.”

Click here to read monthly revenue and cash flow reports from the West Virginia State Budget Office
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he has awarded $1,085,964.00 in STOP Violence Against Women grant program funds to 26 projects across West Virginia.

The purpose of these funds is to establish or enhance teams whose core members include victim service providers, law enforcement, and prosecution to improve the criminal justice system's response to violence against women.

“The people who commit these terrible acts against women need to be held accountable,” Gov. Justice said. “We must always do what it takes to make sure they’re brought to justice.”

The grants provide personnel, equipment, training, technical assistance, and information systems for the establishment or enhancement of these teams.

Additionally, statewide projects are funded to provide training and educational opportunities for all victim service providers, law enforcement, prosecution, and court personnel throughout the state.

Click here to read more
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Jordan Damron,


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