West Virginia Week in Review - December 5, 2020

12/5/2020

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Gov. Justice announces initial allocation plan for COVID-19 vaccine
On Friday, Gov. Jim Justice joined state health experts and leaders with the West Virginia National Guard to provide an overview of the state’s initial allocation plan ahead of the upcoming arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Justice announced that the targeted receipt date for the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine – which was the first vaccine submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization – is Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. However, the Governor pointed out that date is an estimate, dependent upon approval by the FDA, and subject to change. The Governor announced that West Virginia plans to receive an initial allocation of approximately 60,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with a weekly ordering cap of about 16,000.

As for the Moderna vaccine – the second vaccine submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization – the targeted receipt date is expected about one week after the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine. West Virginia plans to receive an initial allocation of approximately 26,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, with a weekly ordering cap of about 3,000-5,000.

The Governor noted that West Virginia's vaccine allocation may increase through the end of 2020. Vaccine estimates for 2021 are not yet available.
In accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the first-available vaccine doses will be distributed to healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, individuals critical to community infrastructure and emergency response, public health officials, and first responders. There are over 100,000 West Virginians who fall into these categories. The initial allocation of vaccines will be distributed to five hub locations with ultra-cold storage in West Virginia in Berkeley, Cabell, Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties.

Additionally, Gov. Justice issued Executive Order 82-20, creating a COVID-19 Joint Interagency Task Force to support all COVID-19 vaccination preparedness, deployment, and delivery related lines of effort.
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Gov. Justice: Hospitals and hospital systems asked to update surge plans, potentially reducing certain elective procedures
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice and state health experts announced that they have asked all hospitals and hospital systems across the state to reevaluate the surge plans that they originally created several months ago as part of the Governor’s West Virginia Strong – The Comeback reopening initiative, updating them to account for the recent increase in COVID-19 case numbers across West Virginia and to consider temporarily reducing the number of elective medical procedures being performed.

“Our state health experts are genuinely concerned about the possibility of our hospitals becoming overrun if things get worse,” Gov. Justice said. “Every day that we have these briefings, we are asked where we stand on hospital beds and where we stand on capacity. We’ve been in talks with the West Virginia Hospital Association and many of the state’s hospitals and we all believe that some level of reduction of elective surgeries may be needed to ensure that we will have hospital space.”
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Gov. Justice: West Virginia on a roll, surpluses continue
Gov. Jim Justice announced Tuesday that West Virginia’s general revenue collections for the month of November came in at $20.1 million above estimates and 6.1% above prior year receipts, closing the books on yet another positive financial month, despite the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the state’s economy. West Virginia has now banked surpluses in each of the first five months of Fiscal Year 2021. Gov. Justice reported that year-to-date general revenue collections are $131.7 million above estimates and 9.1% above prior year receipts.
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Gov. Justice thanks President Trump for extending National Guard Title 32 orders
On Friday, Gov. Justice celebrated Thursday’s announcement by President Donald J. Trump, that he would be extending the National Guard Title 32 orders through March 2021, which will allow the men and women of the West Virginia National Guard to continue their important work helping the State respond to the ongoing pandemic.

“I want to sincerely thank President Trump for this important action,” Gov. Justice said. “I will be sending a letter to the President requesting that the federal government continue to support the West Virginia National Guard in their response to this terrible COVID pandemic."
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Gov. Justice calls on West Virginians to donate blood and plasma
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that after his recent call with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Vice President Mike Pence said that, all across the nation, there is still a shortage of plasma and blood.

“They urged me, and all the other governors on the call, to urge our citizens to go out and give blood, especially if you have recovered from COVID,” Gov. Justice said.

Those fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis may have plasma in their blood containing COVID-19 antibodies that can attack this virus. This plasa is being evaluated as a possible treatment for currently ill COVID-19 patients. For more information, visit redcross.org or call the local American Red Cross offices at 304-340-3650.
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Gov. Justice honors life and legacy of fallen hero
On Friday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to honor the life and legacy of Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson, who was shot Tuesday afternoon while responding to a parking complaint. She passed away Thursday.

After Friday’s briefing, it was announced that the day of services for Officer Johnson will be Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. The Governor’s flag order will be officially filed Monday and Gov. Justice will provide additional information during his COVID-19 media briefing that day.
The Governor also says he will expedite the West Virginia Emergency Responders Survivor Benefit, which provides a $100,000 payment to the beneficiary of law-enforcement personnel killed in the performance of their emergency response duties.
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Gov. Justice kicks off 2021 hunting and fishing license contest; recognizes one-year anniversary of partnership with CORE
Gov. Justice announced Wednesday that West Virginians can now purchase their 2021 hunting and fishing licenses, which will enter them into a prize drawing. Anyone who purchases a 2021 Class X, Class XJ, Class XP, Class X3 and Class XP3 license in the month of December will automatically be entered to win one of two grand prizes of a free lifetime license, one of four vacation getaways at a West Virginia state park, or one of eight West Virginia Division of Natural Resources gift bag.

Additionally, Gov. Justice thanked all West Virginians who have registered for organ donation when purchasing their hunting and fishing licenses in the past year. Dec. 11 will mark the 1-year anniversary of the state’s partnership with CORE (Center for Organ Recovery & Information). The partnership between the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and CORE has allowed more than 25,000 West Virginians to register for organ donation when they purchase a hunting & fishing license.
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Gov. Justice: West Virginia Black Bears selected as founding member of MLB Draft League
On Monday, Gov. Justice celebrated the announcement that the West Virginia Black Bears have been selected as one of the five teams to be a founding member of the new “Major League Baseball Draft League.” This new league will be sanctioned by MLB and operated by Prep Baseball Report, one of the country’s biggest and most respected amateur scouting services. Each season, the Black Bears’ roster will be filled with draft-eligible collegiate players, projected as premium selections in that year’s MLB Draft, ensuring Black Bears fans will continue to enjoy high-quality baseball action to go along with the team’s popular fan-friendly, fun ballpark experience.
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Gov. Justice approves award of two Roads To Prosperity projects: Hominy Creek Bridge and Oil Ridge Road
Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Division of Highways announced Tuesday that bids have been awarded for two Roads To Prosperity projects, including the Hominy Creek Bridge Project in Nicholas County and the Oil Ridge Road Project in Ritchie County. The contract for the Hominy Creek Bridge in Nicholas County is a bridge replacement project awarded to West Virginia-based contractor Triton Construction with a low bid of $1,368,533.89. The Oil Ridge Road project is a slip repair project utilizing drilled piling on CR 26 in Ritchie County awarded to West Virginia based contractor Marks Drilling with a low bid of $127,134.22. Both projects were among those listed in the WVDOH’s virtual bid letting on Nov. 17, 2020.
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Gov. Justice awards over $4.1 million in SIEEP grant funds to expand technology-assisted treatment and prevention services
Gov. Justice announced Friday that he has awarded $4,120,000.00 in West Virginia Statewide Implementation, Enhancement, and Evaluation Projects (SIEEP) grant funds to 15 projects. These funds will be used to expand technology-assisted treatment and prevention services throughout the state. The funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and are administered by the Justice and Community Services section of the West Virginia Division of Administrative Services.
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Gov. Justice honors State Treasurer as Distinguished West Virginian
On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that he had presented longtime State Treasurer John Perdue with a Distinguished West Virginian award. The Treasurer was honored with the award at his final Board of Public Works meeting Friday.
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Poetry Out Loud registration deadline set for Dec. 15
The 2021 West Virginia Poetry Out Loud state competition registration deadline is set for Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. All West Virginia public and private high schools and homeschool associations are encouraged to participate in the event, which is sponsored annually by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Poetry Out Loud is a national contest and free program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. The program begins on a school-wide level, with the winners at each school advancing to the statewide competition. This year’s state final will be a video-based competition.
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Stream Partners Program announces 2021 grant award winners
The West Virginia Stream Partners Program recently announced the recipients of its annual grant awards, with 17 watershed groups receiving grant amounts totaling $77,025. The West Virginia Stream Partners Program is a cooperative effort between the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), the state Division of Natural Resources (DNR), the state Division of Forestry, and the Soil Conservation Agency. The program has $100,000 appropriated each year to award to watershed associations interested in protecting and restoring state streams. This year, 17 organizations received funds up to $5,000 each.
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Also this week:

Virtual town hall meetings to be held on the 2021 West Virginia Substance Use Response Plan

Division of Highways to hold virtual public meeting on High Street Improvements Project in Harpers Ferry; Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020

Point Pleasant DMV Regional Office is closed until further notice

Kanawha City DMV Regional Office is appointment only until further notice

WVDEP now accepting comments on restoration plan for Big Sandy River, Lower Ohio River, and Twelvepole Creek Watersheds
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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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