COVID-19 UPDATE: WV mom pleads for more people to get vaccinated as son enters seventh week on a ventilator


“He decided not to get vaccinated. I hope by sharing his story, it will change some people’s minds.”
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.
Gov. Justice was joined for Monday’s briefing by Linda Lanier, a West Virginia mom whose son, Joe Goodnite, is in a fight for his life against COVID-19.
“He decided not to get vaccinated,” Lanier said. “I hope by sharing his story, it will change some people’s minds.”

Lanier says her son, who is known by many locally as an MMA fighter and who has two young boys of his own, recently began his seventh week on a ventilator battling the disease.
Click here to watch Lanier's full story
“Joey chose not to be vaccinated because he listened to all the negative and false accusations about the vaccination,” Lanier said. “Being in the medical field myself, I tried my best to convince him. However, it didn’t work.”

After developing severe symptoms while on vacation, Lanier says her son sought medical attention upon his return home and was admitted immediately.

“The next morning I received a call from the doctor,” Lanier said. “He said, ‘Your boy is in trouble.’”

Before long, Lanier says Goodnite was on an ECMO life support machine.

“The ECMO was removed after about five weeks, but he’s still sedated, on a vent, and we’re now heading into seven weeks,” Lanier said.

“Before Joey got so sick that he couldn’t talk, he told people, ‘Get vaccinated. You don’t want this stuff,’” Lanier added. “If you have questions, go to a physician. Go to someone that knows. Let them answer your questions because that's where the true answers are. This COVID is a monster. I mean, if it can take down my son, the MMA fighter...what’s it going to do to the average person? What’s it going to do to your children? You need to take this very serious.”

“If this dreaded disease can take down this tremendous athlete, a man that is strong beyond belief, and very young in years, can it not take us all down? That’s what this testimony is all about,” Gov. Justice said. “By having the courage to share this story, this is a family that has absolutely stepped up to try to help all of us.”
The Governor was also joined by West Virginia Senator Dr. Tom Takubo, who happens to be serving as Goodnite’s pulmonologist.

“Linda, thank you for getting that message out,” Takubo said. “We’ll certainly keep Joey in our prayers and we’re going to continue to fight for him just as hard as we possibly can.”
“Linda's story is not unique,” Takubo continued. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, we've had to, as medical workers – the nurses and respiratory therapists, the physicians – we've had to relive this over and over and over, time and time again.

“What we're seeing now is that this is a pandemic, primarily, of the unvaccinated. Be careful about what you're reading on social media, what you're reading on the internet. Listen to your local providers, they're seeing this firsthand.

“The one thing I'm seeing is that the vaccine does work. Eighty-eight to 95 percent of all patients being admitted are unvaccinated. So you have to look at the real numbers.”

“Doc, thank you and Linda, thank you,” Gov. Justice said. “Please tell Joe that we love him and we’re going to continue to pray in every way.”
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that 852 West Virginians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; breaking the all-time record high number of active hospitalizations for the entire pandemic.

The number of West Virginians in ICUs has once again set a new record high of 267 patients. Meanwhile, the number of West Virginians on ventilators reached a record high of 164 patients yesterday.
The statewide death toll from COVID-19 reached 3,238 on Monday, with 31 more deaths being reported since the Governor's previous briefing just three days ago.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now reached 27,607; an increase of more than 3,000 new cases since Friday last week.

Meanwhile, the County Alert System map now shows that 47 of the state’s 55 counties are now in the highest-risk Red category. Another five counties are 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.

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.
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 203,000 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 this 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.
On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 89 active outbreaks in 33 counties within the state public school system.

Five schools across the state are currently closed due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)

A total of 51 county school systems have either face covering requirements or a criteria for requiring face coverings. The remaining four counties – Mingo, Ohio, 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 77 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

Meanwhile, there are now 164 active inmate cases and 45 active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
Also on Monday, 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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