COVID-19 UPDATE: With percentage of vaccinated hospitalizations edging higher, Gov. Justice urges West Virginians to get booster shot if eligible


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.
With the percentage of fully vaccinated West Virignians hospitalized for COVID-19 slowly creeping higher, Gov. Justice took time during his briefing Monday to encourage all residents who qualify for a booster shot to get a booster shot.
“In our hospitals, we are approaching 20% that are vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “Now it’s only changed a little teeny bit so far. But what does it tell us? It tells us we really need to get our booster shots because the effectiveness is wearing down.”
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.

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)
“If you’re 18 or above, you will qualify in some way,” Gov. Justice said Monday. “I would really highly encourage you to run to the fire again and get that booster shot.

“We jumped out of the gate and we led the nation with our early vaccine distribution,” Gov. Justice continued. “Let’s lead the nation in the rollout of our booster shots as well.”

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 went on to report that West Virginia has distributed over 9,400 additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccines since his previous briefing last week.

“That’s pretty good. It’s a whole heck of a lot better than when we were doing 3,400 or 4,200 in a weekend,” Gov. Justice said.

Additionally, following a correction in the vaccination data being tracked by the CDC, West Virginia has once again crossed the threshold of 1 million vaccinations statewide.

“More people have stepped up to get vaccinated,” Gov. Justice added. “All the stuff that we’re doing is working. But we always can do even better.”

Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reported that the state’s total number of active cases has continued to drop. However, as expected, the number of West Virginians in the hospital with severe cases continues to hold near record levels for now.

There are now 14,534 active cases, down more than 1,600 cases since the Governor’s previous briefing Friday last week.

The active case count is down by 15,210 cases since peaking just 10 days ago, dropping 51.1% in a week-and-a-half.

COVID-19 Dashboard |

“The numbers are reflective of the fact that we are going through the peak and it looks like we’re starting to turn down,” Gov. Justice said. “And that’s great news.”
Meanwhile, the state has seen a small decrease in the number of COVID-related hospitalizations, dropping to 978 after reaching a new peak of 1,012 on Friday.

The number of patients in ICUs has once again tied the all-time peak of 291. However, the number of patients on ventilators has dropped slightly to 193 after peaking at 195 on Saturday.

“What all of this tells us is that we’re in a hold pattern right at the peak,” Gov. Justice said. “But it looks like that hold pattern could soon start flowing our way.”

State health experts say that, with the overall case count dropping, the number of severe cases should begin declining as well in the weeks ahead.

The statewide death toll from COVID-19 has reached 3,568, with 45 more deaths being reported since the Governor's previous briefing on Friday last week.

The County Alert System map now shows that 50 of the state’s 55 counties are in either the highest-risk Red category or one step below in the Orange category. However, the map now features two counties in the Green category.
On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 82 school outbreaks in 30 counties with 831 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 are three active outbreaks associated with churches throughout West Virginia. The churches are located in Monroe, Raleigh, and Wayne counties.

Additionally, there are now 85 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

Meanwhile, there are now 286 active inmate cases and 75 active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
This week is the final week to register 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 223,000 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. 30.

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 Monday, 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 Monday 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.

“You can take the flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine at the same time,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s absolutely something that you ought to do.”
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