COVID-19 UPDATE: With statewide case total nearly doubling in past three weeks, Gov. Justice yet again urges more West Virginians to get vaccinated


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 today’s briefing, Gov. Justice reported that the total number of active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has now reached 1,656; nearly double the number of active cases seen throughout the state less than three weeks ago.

“That is significantly up,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s not good.”
“We’re back above 100 people that are hospitalized and we have 47 people in our ICUs,” Gov. Justice continued. “We have no Red counties, but we have one Orange county, seven Gold counties, and 12 Yellow counties.”
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out,” Gov. Justice added. “People are wondering about the Delta variant; if it’s going to come here and if things are going to get worse. Just look at the map. It tells us everything. We need to keep our guard up.”

Gov. Justice went on to report that there are now 43 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant in West Virginia, up from 35 such cases as of his previous briefing on Thursday last week.

The 43 Delta variant cases have been identified in 19 West Virginia counties: Berkeley, Braxton, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marion, McDowell, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan, Raleigh, Summers, Upshur, Webster, Wetzel, and Wyoming counties.
To view COVID-19 variant data:
  • Go to the WV COVID-19 Dashboard at
  • Make sure the “Overview” tab is selected
  • Click yellow box reading: “Click here to view variant data”
During his remarks, State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh noted that 88,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported across the United States yesterday alone.

“During the month of July, the number of new cases has quadrupled in the United States,” Dr. Marsh said. “We know that the Delta variant, in the United States, is responsible for the overwhelming number of new cases.”
“We are very much hoping that people do choose vaccination,” Dr. Marsh continued. “It’s important.”

West Virginia Joint Interagency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer also made remarks Tuesday, noting that the vast majority of critical illness and death in West Virginia COVID-19 patients is being seen among the unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated.

“If we just look at the month of June, 91% of the people in West Virginia who are hospitalized have not had their full vaccination or had no vaccination at all, while 88% of the deaths in West Virginia are among people who have not been vaccinated,” Hoyer said.

“Only 29% of West Virginia children ages 12-17 are fully vaccinated,” Hoyer continued. “For ages 18-29, it’s only 36%, and it’s not much better for West Virginians ages 30-39 and 40-49.”
“Our young people are still lagging behind,” Gov. Justice said. “You absolutely need to get your vaccine.”

Hoyer added, “I know most people are familiar with me from my over 40 years of military service, particularly the last 15 working in leadership roles with the National Guard responding to state emergencies. I think I’m someone that West Virginians trust. I’m trying to reinforce to all of you, if you are still hesitant, reach out to a medical professional and understand the value and the importance of the vaccine. Please quit following the misinformation that’s out there, particularly across the Internet and on social media sites. Talk to someone who is a medical professional, consider getting your children vaccinated, and consider getting vaccinated yourself.”

Dr. Marsh pointed out that, with case numbers climbing once again, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is once again considering measures to mitigate the spread as much as possible.

“The CDC is now reconsidering recommending masking for people – even if they are fully vaccinated – in certain parts of the country; particularly parts with really high amounts of virus,” Dr. Marsh said. “There’s also a really critical look that’s being done now at the amount of antibodies that are present at about six months or so after the initial vaccination and the determination whether it might be wise to consider another vaccination or an augmented next vaccine that will have more activity against variants like the Delta variant.”

Gov. Justice went on to say that, while he is not currently considering reinstating any face covering requirements at this time, he will continue to listen to the advice of the state’s leading medical experts as the situation continues to evolve.

“I do not think that we’re on the threshold of moving in that direction today, but we’ve all got to be smart enough to be open-minded and know that, as we continue to watch and listen to the experts, we have to always remain open-minded as to what to do,” Gov. Justice said. “I hope and pray that we do not slip back into the situation where we have to revisit things like masks or whatever it may be. We’ve been through enough.

“But we can avoid every bit of that if you’ll just step up,” Gov. Justice added. “We’ve got to get people vaccinated.”
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that the 6th round of prize winners through the “Do it for Babydog” Vaccination Sweepstakes will be announced tomorrow, Wednesday, July 28.

Prize giveaways for vaccinated West Virginians ages 18 and older include:
  • One cash prize of $1 million
  • Two brand-new custom-outfitted trucks
  • Five lifetime hunting licenses
  • Five lifetime fishing licenses
  • Five custom hunting rifles
  • Five custom hunting shotguns
  • 25 weekend getaways to West Virginia State Parks.
Additionally, two vaccinated West Virginians ages 12-25 will receive a full four-year scholarship to any public institution in the state.

Over 368,000 West Virginians have registered for the sweepstakes to date.

While the registration deadline to be eligible to win in the July 28 prize drawing has passed, all vaccinated West Virginians are still able and encouraged to register for future drawings at for an opportunity to join the list of winners.

The final prize drawing of the “Do it for Babydog” Vaccination Sweepstakes will be held next Wednesday, August 4, and will include two cash prizes – a grand prize of $1.588 million and a second prize of $588,000 – in addition to all of the standard non-cash prizes given away weekly.
Free COVID-19 vaccinations are available to all West Virginians ages 12 and older.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are urged 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.

All West Virginians who have received one dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines need to remember to get their second dose as well to ensure maximum protection against COVID-19.
In addition to clinic locations, vaccinations 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 visit for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
For more information about West Virginia’s latest COVID-19-related data, visit the West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard at

The dashboard provides a detailed breakdown of case numbers, vaccination data, and more; including the color-coded County Alert Map system, hospitalization data, and several additional features.

The dashboard is updated Monday-Friday at 10 a.m.
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice reported reported that there are currently seven active outbreaks associated with churches throughout West Virginia. These churches are located in Cabell, Jackson, Jefferson, Marion, McDowell, and Putnam counties.

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

Meanwhile, there is currently one active inmate case and three active staff cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 50 counties across the state that currently have free COVID-19 testing sites available through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.
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 or 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
Once again today, Gov. Justice urged any at-risk West Virginians who test positive for COVID-19 – especially those ages 65 and older – to ask their doctor if they qualify for monoclonal antibody treatment.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses.

This type of treatment for COVID-19 only works if patients receive it within a few days of testing positive.
Gov. Justice also 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 the virus. This plasma may be able to be used as a treatment for currently ill COVID-19 patients.

For more information, visit or call the local American Red Cross offices at 304-340-3650.
Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to announce that West Virginians in need of school items will be able to save money this coming weekend during the state’s first back-to-school sales tax holiday.

During the holiday, certain back-to-school items are exempt from sales tax, such as clothing, school supplies, school instructional materials, laptops and tablets, and sports equipment.

The West Virginia State Sales Tax Holiday will begin this year on Friday, July 30, at midnight and will run through Monday, Aug. 2, at 11:59 p.m.

The average customer will save at least 6% on every qualified purchase and up to 7% if they purchase the item in a municipality that has imposed a local sales tax.

Sales Tax Holiday Questions and Answers
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
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