COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice continues to urge 2nd booster shot for eligible West Virginians, especially those 50 and older


WorkForce West Virginia Director provides updates on Job Jumpstart Program, labor force participation rate
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 and vaccine distribution efforts.
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 446 active cases of COVID-19 statewide.

Over the past three months, total active cases have decreased by 97.9%.

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Since nearing peak capacity in early February, COVID-related hospitalizations in West Virginia are down 92%, ICU patients are down 90.8%, and patients on ventilators are down 93.5%.

West Virginia’s County Alert Map once again features all 55 of the state’s counties in the Green category.
Still, after reading the ages and locations of another 27 individuals who have passed away from COVID-19 since Wednesday last week, Gov. Justice continued to urge West Virginians to get vaccinated and boosted.

“The youngest person that we lost in the last week was 51 years old,” Gov. Justice said. “The CDC has OK’ed the second booster shot for every single person in that age category as long as you’re four months removed from your first booster. Choosing to not take that second booster shot is a big-time mistake.

“Please encourage the people in your life who are 50 and older to get that second booster shot,” Gov. Justice continued. “Protect your loved ones from ending up on this page.”
Second booster shots have been authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC for those ages 50 and over who are also at least four months removed from their first booster dose, as well as certain younger immunocompromised individuals ages 12 and older.

All West Virginians who qualify can immediately get this dose anywhere vaccines are available.

The state’s new COVID-19 Vaccination Due Date Calculator has been updated to determine whether people are eligible for a second booster dose.

Read more about vaccines at and at
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Justice was joined by WorkForce West Virginia Director Scott Adkins, who started his remarks by providing an update on the Governor’s new Job Jumpstart Program, which provides a one-time, $1,500 payment to eligible West Virginians who get a new job and remain employed for at least eight weeks.

“The primary purpose of Jumpstart is to get folks back in the workforce,” Adkins said. “We have employers who are reaching out to WorkForce every day, looking for skilled laborers, looking for folks who have technical skills.

“There are plenty of jobs out there. We see signs in every community as you travel throughout West Virginia,” Adkins continued. “To put it in perspective, in January 2022, West Virginia had 50,000 job postings. At the same time, we had 34,800 unemployed folks – that’s 1.4 jobs available for every unemployed West Virginian.

“So, under the Governor’s leadership, we launched our new Job Jumpstart Program and I could go on and on about how successful this program has been in just a short period of time.”

Last week, WorkForce West Virginia announced that over 12,500 West Virginians have been approved to participate in the program.

Adkins went on to say that the program is critical to improving civilian labor force participation in West Virginia.

“Overall, West Virginia’s labor force participation rate has increased nearly 2% since 2015. However, it has remained relatively static since 2019, largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Adkins said. “When you get granular in some of the data to figure out what age groups we lag behind the national average, 16 to 24 is a huge group that's not working that should be working, as well as folks over the age of 50.

“The state lost approximately 46,000 residents from 2012 to 2022, which further decreases that population that's available to work. West Virginia’s job demand has grown substantially over the past decade, from an average of 22,167 monthly job postings in 2011 to an average of over 56,000 monthly job postings in 2021,” Adkins continued. “One of the issues that we face with our labor force participation rate is that, because we’re surrounded by five different states, 13.1% of West Virginians who are eligible to work are working in another state. The national average is 3.1%.

“Under Governor Justice’s leadership, the state Workforce Development Board has put together a strong group of leaders from the business community, state government, and other organizations to strengthen West Virginia’s workforce development system. So we really think that we’re going to be able to improve some of those numbers.”
Click here to watch Adkins' full remarks
Before the start of his briefing on Tuesday, Gov. Justice hosted an event to ceremonially sign into law a pair of bills.

Senate Bill 570 will establish training for law enforcement officers in handling individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

New guidelines will be developed dictating how law enforcement officers should respond to individuals who experience Alzheimer’s and related dementias – as well as those on the autism spectrum – who are victims or witnesses to a crime, or suspected or convicted of a crime.

The Governor also signed Senate Bill 698 on Tuesday, which will update the membership requirements for the West Virginia Veterans Council.

Going forward, council members will need to be Veterans who are active in the Veteran community and who have been recommended by a West Virginia Veterans service organization, with consideration given to ensure a diverse representation of service branches in council membership.
During his briefing Tuesday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to commend West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation officers and local law enforcement officers for quickly locating and capturing a West Virginia inmate who escaped custody yesterday at the Taylor County Courthouse in Grafton.

“They immediately did what we do: run to the fire,” Gov. Justice said. “They launched an all-out search. At about 1:00 in the morning, one of our canine units tracked down and captured the inmate. This was great work by all involved in the search.

“Our corrections officers and our law enforcement officers do phenomenal work every single day, and it makes me sick when people throw stones or say bad things about these absolute heroes,” Gov. Justice continued. “They should be appreciated more. They should be loved by everybody, because they do fabulous work protecting us.”
Additionally Tuesday, Gov. Justice announced that he has issued a proclamation, officially declaring April 18-24 as Osteopathic Physicians Week in West Virginia.

Osteopathic Physicians bring a unique, patient-centered approach to every specialty across the full spectrum of medicine. They are trained to listen and partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well.

“Our osteopathic doctors do a fabulous job all across the state, and we’re recruiting more and retaining more in West Virginia every day,” Gov. Justice said. “My family doctor is a D.O., and so is my daughter, Dr. Jill Justice. There is a lot of good work that’s being done in this important field by a lot of good people, and I’m honored to recognize them with this proclamation.”

Click here to view proclamation
Finally on Tuesday, Gov. Justice took time to congratulate Cody Carver of Dry Branch, who caught and released a blue catfish earlier this month that broke the state record for weight.

Carver caught the 61.28-pound fish while fishing from a boat in the Marmet Pool of the Kanawha River.

Click here to read more

“This young man caught a gigantic catfish not very far from here,” Gov. Justice said. “Since he put the fish back in the river, maybe somebody else will catch it later and it will have gotten even bigger.

“I congratulate Cody in every way. Way to go!”

Contact Information

Jordan Damron,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

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