COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice reports active cases reach lowest point in more than 620 days

3/18/2022

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Gov. Justice hosts U.S. Secretary of Energy and U.S. Secretary of the Interior for meeting at Governor’s Mansion
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.
CASE NUMBERS & VACCINE/BOOSTER INFO
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice reported that, this week, active cases dropped as low as 781; the lowest daily case count since July 4, 2020 – 622 days ago.

“Think about how long ago that is,” Gov. Justice said. “That’s a really meaningful achievement.”
Total active cases have decreased by more than 96% from their latest peak eight weeks ago.

COVID-19 Dashboard | Coronavirus.wv.gov

Since nearing peak hospital capacity in early February, COVID-related hospitalizations in West Virginia are down 78%, ICU patients are down 72%, and patients on ventilators are down 73%.

An updated breakdown of the West Virginia County Alert Map is as follows:
Red (0) | Orange (0) Gold (0) | Yellow (1) | Green (54)
Still, after reading the ages and locations of another 87 individuals who have passed away from COVID-19 since Monday, Gov. Justice continued to urge West Virginians to get vaccinated and boosted.

Initial series vaccinations are available for free for all West Virginians ages 5 and older and booster shots are authorized and encouraged for all West Virginians ages 12 and older. Read more about vaccines and boosters at Vaccinate.wv.gov and at CDC.gov.
FIND A VACCINE NEAR YOU
With yesterday marking the two year anniversary of the first case of COVID-19 being identified in West Virginia, the Governor also aired a video recapping the state’s pandemic response in that time.
COVID-19 RESOURCES
GOV. JUSTICE MEETS WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF ENERGY, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to announce that, earlier in the day, he hosted a pair of United States cabinet secretaries in West Virginia – U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Holland – for a meeting at the Governor’s Mansion with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and many other representatives of the state.
“This was a historic meeting to have two cabinet secretaries in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “My message to them was that we want West Virginia to be an all-encompassing energy state.”
“We’re never going to forget our fossil fuel, our coal miners, our oil and natural gas workers. It would be absolutely frivolous to think we can just migrate away from these things today,” Gov. Justice continued. “But, at the same time, we want to embrace all opportunities for energy production in West Virginia, whether that be nuclear, hydrogen, wind, solar, or anything else. West Virginia should be a melting pot of innovation for all these forms of energy production.”
SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice announced that he has signed a proclamation, formally declaring next week as Flood Safety and Severe Weather Awareness Week in West Virginia.

Click here to view proclamation

A statewide tornado drill will be conducted on Tuesday, Mar. 22, at 11:00 a.m. The National Weather Service, in partnership with the West Virginia Emergency Management Division, Ready WV, and the West Virginia Broadcasters Association, will issue a test tornado warning message. Across the state, weather alert radios will activate, and television and radio stations will broadcast the alert. 

The drill gives all citizens the opportunity to practice tornado safety measures. During the test alert, all West Virginians, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, educators, community groups, and government agencies are encouraged to participate in the tornado drill and update their emergency plans as needed.
GOV. JUSTICE: WEST VIRGINIA EMPLOYMENT AND EXPORT NUMBERS CONTINUE TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice reiterated a pair of major economic announcements from earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the Governor announced that West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.9% for February 2022; breaking the all-time record for the lowest unemployment rate recorded in state history for the 5th consecutive month.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has now decreased for 22 straight months.

Click here to read more
On Tuesday, the Governor announced that West Virginia reached the 2nd-highest export growth rate of any state in the nation for 2021.

West Virginia’s exports surged to $6.2 billion in 2021, a 37.6 percent increase over 2020’s total of $4.6 billion. The state’s export figures now exceed where they were before the pandemic.

Last year, West Virginia businesses traded with 147 countries; the most export markets in five years. Top countries for West Virginia’s products included Canada, China, India, Ukraine, and Brazil.

The strong performance in exports can be attributed to growth in several sectors, notably coal and plastics.

Click here to read more
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN GRANTS FOR NURSING EDUCATION PROGRAMS & EXPANDING ACCESS TO BROADBAND 
Additionally Friday, the Governor discussed a pair of grant announcements this week, which will provide millions of dollars to worthy causes across the state.

This morning, Gov. Justice announced the preliminary approval of over $3.9 million in Line Extension Advancement and Development (LEAD) program funds for various broadband infrastructure projects throughout the state. The investment will result in approximately 55 miles of new fiber infrastructure and will provide broadband connectivity to approximately 650 homes and businesses in West Virginia.

This marks the second round of grants awarded as part of Gov. Justice’s Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy.

Click here to read more

Yesterday, the Governor announced that nearly $23 million in grant funding has been awarded to 26 nursing education programs at colleges, universities, schools of nursing, and career technical education centers across West Virginia.

This funding, which is expected to support up to 600 new nursing students, is part of the West Virginia Nursing Workforce Expansion Program, first announced by Gov. Justice in December 2021 as a multifaceted approach to improve and expand nursing education, retention, and recruitment in the state.

Funded projects were required to be focused on increasing enrollment in pre-licensure nursing programs through innovative approaches, focused on timely degree completion and licensure for graduates.

Click here to read more
WEST VIRGINIA CONTINUES TO LEAD THE TOURISM INDUSTRY
Also Friday, Gov. Justice noted that West Virginia continues to blaze new trails in the tourism industry, with several exciting announcements earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the Governor hosted an event today at Hawks Nest State Park to unveil West Virginia’s groundbreaking 2022 Vacation Guide. Instead of the traditional single-copy guide, West Virginia is releasing an exclusive four-part vacation guide collection.

West Virginia is the first state in the country to adopt a multi-part vacation guide format.

The four guides each highlight different aspects of what makes West Virginia one of the country’s premier vacation and travel destinations. Titles include Outdoor Recreation, Natural Wonders, Mountain Culture, and, finally, a special guide devoted to America’s newest national park; New River Gorge National Park & Preserve.
Request your copies of the 2022 WV Vacation Guide collection
Additionally Wednesday, the Governor unveiled a new State Highway Map for 2022, which features all of West Virginia’s state parks and forests, alongside important traveler information, must-see stops, and scenic country roads to travel throughout West Virginia.

Finally Wednesday, the Governor and other officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate over $7 million in improvements to the Hawks Nest park lodge and museum.
Upgrades include new landscaping, a new outdoor pool with a splash pad, a brand new lobby, front desk area, and public restrooms. Lodge rooms have been renovated with new furnishings, ADA accessibility has been expanded, and more.

Click here to read more
WEST VIRGINIA GOLD RUSH TROUT STOCKING PROGRAM BACK FOR FIFTH YEAR
Finally Friday, Gov. Justice echoed his announcement from earlier in the week that the West Virginia Gold Rush will return for its fifth year, with more than 50,000 prizes available for lucky anglers.

From March 29 to April 9, the WVDNR will stock 50,000 golden rainbow trout at 62 lakes and streams around the state, including waters in or near 15 state parks and forests. Stocking locations and details about the Gold Rush can be found at wvdnr.gov/goldrush.

All anglers who catch any of the 50,000 golden trout being stocked during the event can enter their information online and will be sent a special coin celebrating the program’s 5th anniversary.

Additionally, out of the 50,000 golden rainbow trout that will be stocked during the event, 100 will receive a specially numbered tag. If an angler catches a trout with one of these tags, they can enter the tag number online for a chance to win a free WV lifetime fishing license, a one-night stay at a state park or forest cabin, a WV State Parks gift card, or exclusive Gold Rush merchandise.

Click here to read more
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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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