COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice: West Virginia National Guard completes mission providing staffing support to hospitals across the state


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 Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice was joined by West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, who announced that, with COVID-19-related hospitalizations continuing to receed across the state, the WVNG has officially concluded its mission of providing additional staffing support at West Virginia hospitals.
“We’ve drawn down our support in the hospitals. We really appreciate all that the hospitals did to welcome us into their facilities and give us an opportunity to see what they’ve had to do for the past two years,” Maj. Gen. Crane said.

Additionally, Maj. Gen. Crane went on to say that members of the WVNG are now coming off their orders to support the state pandemic response.

“We’re hosting a job fair for soldiers and airmen, starting tomorrow and the next day, to help them navigate the process of coming off orders and, if they don’t have employment to go back to, to make sure they have an opportunity somewhere,” Maj. Gen. Crane said. “I just can’t thank the Governor and the entire pandemic leadership team for all of the support we’ve received during this COVID response.”
“This week marked the two-year anniversary of the Governor activating us to provide support to the State of West Virginia in response to the pandemic – making this the longest continuous activation of the National Guard in the state’s history,” Crane added. “At the height of our mission, we had about 700 service members providing support to the state.

“Again, Governor, we thank you for all the support you’ve provided.”

“All I can do is applaud the incredible work that all of you have done,” Gov. Justice said. “It was a real honor flying with y’all.

“We don’t know if or when we’ll have to call back for your help, but we know you’ll be there for us,” Gov. Justice continued. “The only thing I can say is that I love you with all my soul. The work you’ve done for all West Virginians has been unbelievable. God bless you.”
On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 1,244 active cases of COVID-19 statewide. Over the past seven weeks, total active cases have decreased by more than 94%.

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Since nearing peak capacity in early February, COVID-related hospitalizations in West Virginia are down 75%, ICU patients are down 69%, and patients on ventilators are down 68%.
An updated breakdown of the West Virginia County Alert Map is as follows:
Red (0) | Orange (0) Gold (1) | Yellow (1) | Green (53)
Still, after reading the ages and locations of another 10 individuals who have passed away from COVID-19 since Friday last week, 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 and at
Gov. Justice also reflected on the address he delivered Friday at the State Capitol to discuss America’s energy crisis, its role in the war in Ukraine, and how President Biden must act now by tapping into West Virginia’s rich natural resources to make America energy independent again.
“Our weakness in this country has provoked the terrible things we’re seeing on the news every day,” Gov. Justice said during Monday’s briefing. “If we don’t act, it could lead to something tragic beyond belief for America, it could lead to World War III, it could lead to a nuclear blast somewhere. But we’re afraid. Otherwise, we’d stop all this right now. I don’t think we should be afraid. We’re Americans. We don’t need to be afraid of anybody. When you’re afraid, bad things happen.

“Our coal miners and our gas and oil workers in West Virginia have always powered this nation,” Gov. Justice continued. “They saved us in World War II by giving us the coal that we needed to make the steel that preserved this country. But, over the last few years under the Biden Administration, these hardworking West Virginians were kicked in the you-know-what over and over. The Biden Administration has been trying to extinguish them and their way of life. But now, all of a sudden, we’re on the brink of World War III.

“They need to call on West Virginia today. We can be the catalyst to stop the carnage by helping this country be energy independent again. I stand rock-solid for all the alternative energies, but it’s absolutely frivolous to think that, today, we can live in this world without fossil fuels. Energy is being used as a weapon in the world right now. That’s why this country, hands down, needs to be totally energy independent. It’s a crying pitiful shame to see what has happened under the Biden Administration that has crippled us and made us weak.

“We’re not leading the world. We’re afraid of Russia. We’re begging them to not be too mean to us,” Gov. Justice added. “At the same time, we’re sitting by, watching evil happen right before our eyes; children blown up, residential neighborhoods blown up, maternity wards blown up, on and on, and we sit there, begging, ‘Please don’t be mean to us.’

“I don't think that'll work. West Virginia has a real opportunity. We can be called upon again to mine more, produce more gas, complete our pipelines, all the different things we need to do today to save the world.”
Gov. Justice also reminded West Virginians that, after his address Friday, he sent a letter to the West Virginia Legislature, requesting that they join him in pledging $5 million in support of the Ukrainian maternity and children’s hospital that was bombed by Russian military forces earlier last week.

“While it’s significant money, more than that, it’s a significant gesture from the State of West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “It will be our gesture to Ukraine that we stood right with them. Someway, somehow, everyone across this great nation and the world needs to stand with Ukraine.

“We want to rebuild that maternity ward because I can’t imagine anything that was worse to see than that hospital being blown to pieces, with pregnant women running, it was terrible,” Gov. Justice continued. “So we’re going to work on getting this done.”

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Also on Monday, Gov. Justice took time to discuss the conclusion of the West Virginia Legislature’s regular session, which ended Saturday night.

During the session, the Legislature passed 293 bills for the Governor to consider. To date, Gov. Justice has signed 34 bills with no vetoes. The remaining 259 bills are under consideration.

“I’ll carefully look at all of the bills that will be on my desk. Beyond that, I can’t really comment on them at this time, other than saying that I’m pleased that all the bills that I sent up passed,” Gov. Justice said, noting his legislation establishing a new tax credit to spur affordable housing projects, reforming the state purchasing process, enhancing penalties for those who abuse special needs students and for those that traffic deadly drugs across West Virginia's borders, enhancing investment in economic development to record levels, and funding the Beckley Veterans Nursing Home.

“I want to thank the Legislature for the hard work,” Gov. Justice added. “Like it or not like it, and some of it is just blustering – getting on a soapbox so we can go back and try to get reelected – and I don’t like that, but these people do a lot of good work, so let’s give credit where credit’s due. They come here, away from their families for 60 days, the pay isn’t very much at all. Really and truly, we should be very thankful for the fact that they come, they serve, and they give West Virginia all they’ve got.”

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Finally Monday, Gov. Justice took time to congratulate the Parkersburg Catholic Lady Crusaders for becoming West Virginia’s first girls basketball team in 10 years to complete a perfect season, winning the AA State Championship over the weekend to end the year with a record of 24-0.

“It’s incredibly, incredibly tough to do,” Gov. Justice said. “I believe the last time it was done, it was West Side High School in 2012. So, to all the Lady Crusaders and their coaches as well, congratulations on your incredible season. And I also want to congratulate all those teams that were victorious in their state championships.”

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