COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice urges all West Virginians to get vaccinated, says those who don’t are taking “an incredible chance”

4/12/2021

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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.
GOV. JUSTICE RENEWS CALLS FOR ALL WEST VIRGINIANS OF AGE TO GET VACCINATED
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice once again took time to urge all West Virginians who are age 16 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible to help curb the spread of COVID-19, especially in light of the recent increase in variant strains being seen across the state.

“You may be sitting there thinking, ‘Now that there have been a bunch of people that have gotten vaccinated, I can slide by and not get vaccinated,’” Gov. Justice said.

“Oh, what an incredible chance you’re taking,” he continued. “Not only do we still have the original COVID-19 situation to deal with, but now we’ve got all the variants that increase the chances of infection or death.

“Even if I was the only person that wasn’t vaccinated – the only one – even if the chances of me getting this were almost nil because everybody else was vaccinated, I’d still run to get a vaccine because, if you do get this, the price you could pay is unbelievable.”

Gov. Justice also renewed calls for West Virginians to continue following all proper face covering protocols as advised by state medical experts.

“This terrible killer continues to take our wisdom away from us,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve got to stay on guard. We’ve still got to wear our masks.

“There will be a point in time when we will be able to get rid of these masks. Nobody dislikes them any more than I do,” Gov. Justice continued. “But at the same time, for all that we know, they are a lifesaver.”
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
The current number of active cases in the state is now 7,470, up from 7,084 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Friday last week.

The number of active hospitalizations is now 271, down from 280 on Friday last week. Of those currently hospitalized, 82 are in the ICU, down from 87 such patients on Friday last week.

The cumulative percent of positive cases remains at 5.23%.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION UPDATE
West Virginia has now successfully administered 1,096,787 vaccine doses after receiving a total allotment of 1,215,920 doses from the federal government to date; an overall administration rate of 90.2%.

To date, 661,687 West Virginians have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 461,008 West Virginians have been fully vaccinated.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older. However, West Virginians who are age 65 and older will continue to be prioritized first until all state residents in this age range who desire the vaccine have been vaccinated.

To date, 256,818 West Virginians age 65 and older have chosen to be vaccinated – over 75% of West Virginia’s population in this age range – including 216,387 who are now fully vaccinated.

At the Governor’s direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) has established three fixed-location vaccination clinics in Berkeley, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties to ensure that every West Virginian age 65 and older has access to a vaccine.

Any West Virginians age 65 and older are urged to pre-register for an appointment by visiting vaccinate.wv.gov or calling 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.
Vaccinations also 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 vaccinefinder.org for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
The JIATF continues to reach out to manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families choosing to be vaccinated by organizing vaccination clinics at these facilities.

Additionally, church leaders are still being 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.
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: 3
Orange counties: 7
Gold counties: 6
Yellow counties: 12
Green counties: 27
OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now eight active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia, up from seven such outbreaks as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Friday last week. The active outbreaks are located in Fayette, Grant, Harrison, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Raleigh counties and account for a total of a total of 80 cases.

There are now 10 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, up from eight on Friday last week.

The Governor also reported that there are now 101 inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, up from 97 such cases on Friday last week. The inmate cases include 36 at Southern Regional Jail, 34 at Salem Correctional Center, and 23 at South Central Regional Jail. Meanwhile, there are now 11 active staff cases across the DCR system, up from nine such cases on Friday last week. To learn more about DCR facility vaccination efforts, or 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 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, 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
ALL BUSINESSES MUST CONTINUE TO FOLLOW COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice took time to provide a reminder that all businesses in West Virginia must continue to follow all applicable COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Click here to view all active guidance documents
FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT REMAINS IN EFFECT
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.

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.
DONATE BLOOD AND PLASMA
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice once again 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.
GOV. JUSTICE ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF “ASCEND WV” REMOTE WORK PROGRAM
Also, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to announce that, earlier in the day Monday, he joined Intuit Chairman and West Virginia native Brad D. Smith and his wife, Alys, along with WVU President E. Gordon Gee for a virtual launch event for the new “Ascend WV” program.

Ascend WV is aimed at recruiting outdoor-enthusiast professionals to the Mountain State. The program will allow adventurers to enjoy world-class recreation, uncrowded spaces, and a low cost of living while staying fully connected to their jobs, and it comes with the country’s best remote worker incentive package: $12,000 and a year’s worth of free outdoor recreation.
During Monday’s event, Gov. Justice ceremonially signed HB 2026, which is designed to reform West Virginia’s corporate income tax laws to make West Virginia a haven for remote workers from all across the country.

Click here to read more about the launch of Ascend WV
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.
Additional media content, including video clips and/or photos from this event, will be posted on the Governor's Office website as they become available. You can find a link on the thumbnail image at the top of this press release.
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Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

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Charleston, WV 25305

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