COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice reports national COVID-19 cases six times higher than one year ago



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.
During Tuesday's briefing, Gov. Justice reported that, according to Johns Hopkins, the seven-day average for COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are more than six times what they were a year ago. 

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center showed a seven-day average of 119,725 cases as of Saturday. That figure held at 17,887 cases on May 28 of last year. 

"We're seeing a variant that is more contagious, meaning that you're surely more apt to get it," Gov. Justice said. "But absolutely you should really consider the fact that if you're not vaccinated, the way this thing's running across the land, there's a good chance you're going to get it in a bad way. I remind you over and over about your booster shot too, you know it's available to you and absolutely you should be getting your booster shots."

Despite the rising infection rate, COVID-related deaths were down from last year, a sign of increased immunity through vaccines and prior infections, along with wider availability of treatments.
"We are close to 100,000 average cases a day in the United States and really smart authorities think that we are picking up probably as few as 5 to 10% of all positive cases that are circulating," Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said. "Remember at this point in 2021, we were sort of feeling good that perhaps we were going to get long respite from COVID and that's when the Delta variants occurred for us and and caused many, many problems. And so it's important for us to be highly vigilant about protecting ourselves and making sure we are fully vaccinated."
Also Tuesday, Gov. Justice addressed his recent illness that caused him to postpone his COVID-19 briefing to today.

"You know, I want to stop just a second and say that I'm really foreign to feeling bad," Gov. Justice said. "I can't recall, for all practical purposes ever missing a day's work by being sick. But man, I can't imagine the magnitude of a small little tick that could get on you that could cause a lot of issues. I would caution everyone take take ticks really serious and guard yourself and check yourself for tics.

"I really want to thank all the people for the well wishes, I am tickled to death to be back here with you."
On Tuesday Gov. Justice reported that there are now just 2,184 active cases of COVID-19 statewide. However, 1,972 new cases were received over the Memorial Day Weekend.

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Still, after reading the ages and locations of another 36 individuals who have passed away from COVID-19 since Thursday, May 19, Gov. Justice continued to urge West Virginians to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and boosters.

Primary series vaccinations and a first booster dose are now encouraged for all West Virginians ages 5 and older.

A second booster dose is encouraged for all West Virginians ages 50 and older who are at least four months removed from their first booster dose, as well as certain immunocompromised individuals. All West Virginians who qualify can get a second booster dose everywhere vaccines are available.

The state’s free COVID-19 Vaccination Due Date Calculator – the only tool of its kind in the nation – has been updated to determine whether people are eligible for a second booster dose.
Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to express his condolences after the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, last week that left 21 people dead, including 19 young students.

"I pray for these beautiful, beautiful children and their families. I can't fathom it. I just can't fathom it. It just kills me to my soul in every way," Gov. Justice said. "We really got to step back and really truly believe that we can do a comprehensive all in some type of approach to make things better. And if we don't, things are going to continue to be tough."
Gov. Justice also took time to recap his visits to Wheeling Park High School and Clay-Battelle Middle/High School on Monday last week. The Governor announced these two schools as the latest additions to the student-powered WV GameChanger Opioid and Substance Misuse Prevention Education Program.
The cutting-edge, evidence-based program is the first of its kind in the nation and is the result of a collaborative agreement between GameChanger and the world-renowned Hazelden-Betty Ford Foundation.

WV GameChanger’s Opioid and Substance Misuse Prevention Education Program will become part of the curriculum at both Wheeling Park High School and Clay-Battelle Middle/High School this fall.
The goal of the program – which is now in seven schools across the state – is to empower young West Virginians to live healthy, drug-free lifestyles and prepare them to be our leaders of tomorrow.

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Gov. Justice recently announced that West Virginia will receive up to $72.1 million from the U.S. Department of the Treasury under a new round of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to increase access to capital and promote entrepreneurship, especially in traditionally underserved communities as they emerge from the pandemic. 

The American Rescue Plan reauthorized and expanded SSBCI, which was originally established in 2010. The West Virginia Capital Access Program (WVCAP), which manages SSBCI funding under the West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust (WVJIT), has an exceptional track record in increasing access to capital for traditionally underserved small businesses and entrepreneurs across West Virginia. 

This additional SSBCI funding is expected to catalyze up to $10 of private investment for every $1 of SSBCI capital funding, amplifying the effects of this funding and providing small business owners with the resources they need to sustainably grow and thrive. 

The WV Jobs Investment Trust submitted a plan to the Treasury for how they will use the dollars to provide funding to small businesses through venture capital programs, collateral support programs, and subordinated debt programs. West Virginia is one of only five states so far to see its plan to receive Treasury approval.

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Gov. Justice also took time to congratulate a pair of anglers for recently catching new state-record fish in West Virginia.

Ayden Minick of Mt. Pleasant, PA, recently caught and released a new West Virginia state-record common carp while fishing from the bank of Summersville Lake in Nicholas County.
Minick’s record fish was 41.2 inches long and weighed 45.2 pounds. The trophy carp surpassed the previous West Virginia length record of 41.0 inches, caught in 1988 by Charles Cook at Stonecoal Lake. However, Minick’s fish did not beat the current weight record of 47.0 pounds, caught in a Preston County farm pond by Gary Johnson in 1998.

Steve Price of Lancaster, OH, recently caught and released a blue catfish that broke the state record for both weight and length while fishing from a boat on the lower section of the Kanawha River between Buffalo and Point Pleasant.
Price’s record fish was 50.7 inches long and weighed 67.22 pounds. The trophy catfish eclipsed the weight record of 61.28 pounds held by Cody Carver for only seven weeks and also broke the length record of 50.15 inches held by Justin Goode since 2021.


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Jordan Damron,


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