COVID-19 UPDATE: With increased access to at-home testing kits, West Virginia to scale back free community testing events


Governor also announces GreenPower launching pilot project to familiarize schools with electric buses
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.
Gov. Justice announced during his briefing on Thursday that, thanks to the access to and the convenience of at-home COVID-19 test kits, there is now less of a need for public community testing efforts.

As a result, the state will be scaling back its community testing events.

West Virginia has provided free community testing for all citizens since the beginning of the pandemic.

Testing sites will continue to be offered at pharmacies, participating local health departments, participating medical centers, and Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers to all who are symptomatic or have been exposed to COVID-19. 

“There are still plenty of places out there where you can find access to free testing. But, to be perfectly honest, what’s happening right now with our community testing events is that they’re set up all day, but maybe only two people come by,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re just spending money that could be better spent somewhere else right now. That said, if things happen to get worse, we’ll be right back out there.”
The federal government is also offering additional home testing kits.

“We just want to make sure that everyone knows we do have testing available still, we’re just rolling back these specific events,” said State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad. “We still have free testing available through different options.”

Dr. Amjad added that West Virginia’s online testing locations map is being updated to account for these changes.
On Thursday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 2,117 active cases of COVID-19 statewide, 67 fewer cases than there were during the Governor’s previous briefing on Tuesday.

COVID-19 Dashboard |

An updated breakdown of the West Virginia County Alert Map is as follows:
Red (0) | Orange (0) Gold (0) | Yellow (24) | Green (31)
Still, after reading the ages and locations of another 23 individuals who have been confirmed to have passed away from COVID-19 since Tuesday, 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.
Also during Thursday’s briefing, Gov. Justice took time out from his remarks about COVID-19 to welcome Mark Nestlen, a spokesperson for GreenPower Motor Company Inc.

The Governor has directed West Virginia Department of Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael to work alongside GreenPower to develop a pilot project to familiarize school districts in the state with electric school buses.

The pilot project will be designed to help school districts take advantage of the federal money that is currently available for the near 100% purchase of electric buses.

“In essence, they can almost get those buses for free. The large school buses will have a $375,000 rebate from the federal government. For the smaller school buses, it’s $285,000. And then they get an additional $20,000 per bus after that to work on charging infrastructure,” Nestlen said. “Governor, with your direction for us to get out there and show the school districts how this will work for them, in combination with this money coming down from the federal government, is really going to do the job of helping move students safely, get them to school, help them learn better, and will achieve more economic growth for the state.

“Again, Governor, I thank you for what you’ve done to make GreenPower feel welcome in West Virginia,” he added.
In January, Gov. Justice announced that GreenPower had signed an agreement with the state to lease/purchase a 9.5-acre manufacturing facility in South Charleston, including an 80,000-square-foot building, where the company will manufacture zero-emission, all-electric school buses, bringing hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact to West Virginia.

GreenPower produces all-electric school buses that are able to run 140 miles on a charge and recharge in as little as 3.5 hours, meaning that these buses will be able to run their morning route, recharge during lunch, and then run their afternoon route.

GreenPower plans to take possession of its new manufacturing facility in August and begin production at its new South Charleston facility in September.

“We appreciate you. We know you’re gonna bring hundreds of jobs to West Virginia. It’s a great opportunity for all of us,” Gov. Justice said. “So we welcome you with open arms. We stand ready to try to help in every way.

“We thank everybody who has put in the licks to make this a reality and we’re anxious to see these buses start rolling off the assembly line,” he continued.
Gov. Justice also took time to reiterate his announcement yesterday that, 11 months through Fiscal Year 2022, year-to-date collections of more than $5.225 billion are a record $1.107 billion above the YTD estimate and 16.3% ahead of last year, breaking the all-time state record for total collections through the month of May.

This marks the first time in state history that cumulative collections have ever exceeded $5 billion at any point on the calendar, with another month still remaining in this fiscal year.

“I sound almost like a broken record, but what a broken record this is. It’s amazing beyond belief what we have going on,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia, we want to just keep on moving forward. These are unbelievable numbers.”

West Virginia’s General Revenue collections for May 2022 came in at $113.8 million over estimate.

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Last evening, Gov. Justice stopped by the 2nd annual GameChanger Dinner, where he delivered remarks about the importance of the GameChanger program and its efforts to educate young West Virginians about the dangers of substance misuse before the cycle of addiction starts.

“GameChanger is trying to so anything and everything under the sun to combat the opioid epidemic by going into our schools and talking to kids about making their lives better,” Gov. Justice said during his briefing Thursday. “I congratulate them in every way on what they’re doing, and I encourage everyone to get involved in a kid’s life in some way.”

Additional speakers at the event included country music superstar and West Virginia native Brad Paisley, U.S. senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, among others.

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Additionally, Gov. Justice echoed his announcement yesterday that he has appointed Kelly Gilmore Codispoti to the Seventh Judicial Circuit, which serves Logan County. Gilmore Codispoti is set to fill the seat vacated by the retirement of the Honorable Eric H. O’Briant.

She will be the first female Circuit Court Judge in Logan County.

“She has already served Logan County for a long time and really has it together. She has done so much good work as a Family Court judge,” Gov. Justice said. “I know that Kelly will do a great job. I have all the confidence in the world in her and I wish her all the best.”

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Gov. Justice also reiterated his announcement yesterday that, after receiving the results of his bloodwork, his doctors have confirmed a diagnosis of Lyme disease.

Gov. Justice will remain on antibiotics for several weeks to continue fighting the infection.

“I still don’t feel the greatest, but I’m doing better everyday,” Gov. Justice said. “I never would have believed that you could get a tick bite that would turn into something this nasty. I just urge everyone to check themselves for ticks when they’ve been outside and take heed.”
Additionally Thursday, Gov. Justice joined three state agencies – the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration, the Division of Natural Resources, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office – in reminding the public of potential hazards that can occur during the summer, when many West Virginians and tourists are more active outdoors.

“We want everyone to enjoy their summer in West Virginia. It’s one of the greatest seasons to explore one of the greatest places on Earth. But you’ve got to be careful,” Gov. Justice said. “Over the years, we’ve lost too many people to accidents – especially when alcohol is involved.

“I just want everyone to enjoy themselves, but be super careful.”

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