COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice: West Virginia requests waiver from federal vaccine mandate for rural healthcare workers

1/31/2022

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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.
WEST VIRGINIA REQUESTS WAIVER FROM FEDERAL VACCINE MANDATE FOR RURAL HEALTHCARE WORKERS
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that he would be joining with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, sending a joint letter to the U.S. Administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, calling on CMS to grant a limited waiver of its vaccination requirement at rural or state-run facilities due to severe staffing shortages.

“We understand that the Supreme Court has ruled that this mandate can go into effect, but it is putting an additional level of strain on our rural hospitals that is just destroying us,” Gov. Justice said. “Maybe that works for more-populated areas. But in rural West Virginia, we can’t afford to have all these folks terminated because of their vaccination status. It’s just going to make it tougher and tougher for us to provide care in our rural hospitals.

“So I am joining the governor of Virginia, requesting a waiver for rural hospitals to not have to abide by this mandate,” Gov. Justice continued. “It is only putting additional pressures on us. It is not saving lives. It is not helping people in this situation. It is hurting us and hurting us in a bad way.”
CLICK HERE TO VIEW LETTER
BOOSTER SHOTS NOW AUTHORIZED FOR ALL WEST VIRGINIANS AGES 12 AND OLDER
COVID-19 booster shots are now authorized and encouraged for all West Virginians ages 12 and older.

Booster shots are available for free to all eligible West Virginians. The waiting period for those who received initial series Pfizer shots has been shortened to five months. Read more about booster eligibility at CDC.gov.

West Virginians can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with their vaccination card to receive their booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.

Initial series vaccinations remain available for free for all West Virginians ages 5 and older.

West Virginians interested in being vaccinated or having their children vaccinated are encouraged to visit Vaccinate.wv.gov or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.
FIND A VACCINE NEAR YOU
CASE NUMBERS & HOSPITALIZATIONS UPDATE
On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 15,490 active cases of COVID-19 and 1,070 COVID-related hospitalizations statewide.

The cumulative percent positivity rate stands at 8.05%.

COVID-19 Dashboard | Coronavirus.wv.gov

An updated breakdown of the West Virginia County Alert Map is as follows:
Red (30) | Orange (12) Gold (8) | Yellow (4) | Green (1)
The Governor went on to announce that 275 West Virginia National Guard members have now been authorized to deploy to 34 medical facilities across the state as part of the WVNG’s mission to provide staffing support to West Virginia hospitals in the face of the current surge.
FREE N95 MASKS | FREE AT-HOME COVID-19 TESTS
Gov. Justice offered another reminder that the federal government is now offering three free N95 masks per American.

The free masks are being made available at pharmacies and community health centers across West Virginia.

The Governor also offered a reminder that the federal government continues to offer every household in America four free at-home COVID-19 tests.

To get your free at-home COVID tests, visit COVIDtests.gov.
COVID-19 RESOURCES
GOVERNOR PREVIEWS REVENUE ANNOUNCEMENT; WEST VIRGINIA “COOKING”
Finally Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID to report that, once again, West Virginia is trending toward another extremely positive month of revenue collections for January 2022.

“This state is really cooking,” Gov. Justice said. “As we continue to pump out good surplus numbers, it just enables us to bring even more goodness to West Virginia.”

The Governor added that he will announce the final numbers after the month officially comes to a close.

“Tune back in on Wednesday and I think you’ll see us announce another surplus in line with the unprecedented numbers we saw in December,” Gov. Justice said.
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Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

Contact

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

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:
304.558.3588

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