West Virginia Week in Review - April 24, 2021

4/24/2021

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Gov. Justice, state medical experts: Data shows over 99.9% of fully vaccinated West Virginians have not gotten sick from COVID-19
On Friday, Gov. Jim Justice and state medical experts discussed the latest data on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness after continued analysis by epidemiologists has shown that the vaccines are nearly perfect at stopping infections and deaths. State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh explained that according to the most complete, up-to-date data on West Virginia’s vaccine distribution – gathered by the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) and WVU using new methodology in collaboration with the White House and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – shows that 573,547 West Virginians have been fully vaccinated to date.

Of that total, over 99.9% of fully vaccinated West Virginians have not gotten sick from COVID-19. Dr. Marsh went on to explain that fewer than 150 fully vaccinated West Virginians have experienced a breakthrough case of COVID-19 and only three have died.
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Gov. Justice announces new initiative to get West Virginians vaccinated: "Beat 588... Bad"
Despite the data, and despite the fact that 48.6% of all West Virginians who are eligible to be vaccinated have not yet received one, Gov. Justice announced Friday that the state’s vaccine supply has now met vaccine demand.

The Governor went on announce that he and state pandemic response leaders are rolling out a first-of-its-kind initiative to encourage more West Virginians to get vaccinated.

Gov. Justice explained that the goal of his plan is to decrease the number of unvaccinated West Virginians significantly below 40% of the total eligible population of 1,472,000. With a target of reducing the number of unvaccinated citizens below 588,000, the Governor is naming the initiative “Beat 588...Bad.”
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Gov. Justice issues executive order updating and clarifying several COVID-19 regulations
Gov. Justice announced Monday that he signed Executive Order 12-21, clarifying which previous executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic remain in effect and which do not, while also updating certain regulations.

As part of his executive order, Gov. Justice announced that he has removed the limitation on the number of people permitted to gather for purely social purposes.

The Governor also announced that his executive order adds an additional exemption to the Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement so that, if you are actively engaged in physical activity like indoor sports, you do not need to wear a face covering.
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Gov. Justice announces over two-thirds of West Virginians age 65 and older have been fully vaccinated
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that, at his direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force has collaborated with WVU to provide a more accurate picture of how many West Virginians have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. With the help of the White House, WVU researchers went directly to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and manually analyzed their data to get a truly accurate number.

“We have now reached the threshold where we have now exceeded two-thirds of West Virginia residents age 65 and over who are fully vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said, adding that over 77% of West Virginians in this age range have now received at least one dose of the vaccine.”

The latest data also shows that the total vaccine eligible population of West Virginia is 1.47 million. Of the number of eligible West Virginians, 50.9% have received at least one dose, while 37.8% are fully vaccinated.
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Gov. Justice signs bills requiring officer training on autism spectrum disorders, lowering prescription drug costs, and regarding physician assistants
Gov. Justice hosted a virtual ceremony Wednesday inside the Governor’s Reception Room in Charleston, where he signed into law three bills designed to improve West Virginians’ lives in various ways:

SENATE BILL 634
This bill requires law enforcement and correctional officers to be trained on the best ways to interact with those with autism spectrum disorders.

HOUSE BILL 2263
This bill will make West Virginia the first state in the country to require drug discounts or rebates, negotiated by insurance companies for patients, to be passed on to patients by requiring insurance companies and benefits managers to share the savings they receive in the form of rebates from drug manufacturers. As a result, this bill will lower prescription drug costs for individuals on commercial insurance plans.

SENATE BILL 714
This bill expands the scope of practice for physician assistants, allowing them more freedom to work with their collaborating physician to provide care in line with their education, training, and experience, providing that the provision of such care by the physician assistants should be fairly reimbursed by insurers and other health plans.
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Gov. Justice approves over $1.9 million for two Roads To Prosperity projects in Wayne County
Gov. Justice announced Thursday that he has approved more than $1.9 million for two Roads To Prosperity projects to correct a pair of serious slides on highly-traveled roads in Wayne County: one on Spring Valley Drive and another on West Virginia Route 37 at the intersection of Vernicks Road.
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Division of Highways accepts bids remotely for 16 projects
A six-lane upgrade to Interstate 79 in the Fairmont area is among 16 projects that were included in a recent remote bid letting conducted by the West Virginia Division of Highways. The WVDOH is reviewing the bids and hopes to award contracts for these projects soon.
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West Virginia’s early learning programs rank among top in the nation
West Virginia’s Universal Pre-K Program once again ranks among the top in the nation, according to the 2020 Yearbook released Monday by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). NIEER recognizes West Virginia as a leader in pre-k access for 4-year-olds and quality standards.
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National Board Certified Teachers honored in virtual recognition celebration
The West Virginia Department of Education recognized 96 educators Tuesday evening as part of this year’s National Board Certification Recognition Celebration. Due to COVID-19, the virtual celebration premiered on the WVDE Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube social media channels. The honorees represent the 64 new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) as well as the 32 educators who successfully renewed their certification last year.
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WVDEP begins work on river access site for Dries section of the New River
After more than a year of planning and obtaining necessary permits, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has begun work on a river access site for the “Dries” section of the New River at Cotton Hill in Fayette County. The new parking area will allow both commercial and private river users improved access to the remote stretch of river that runs from Cotton Hill downstream through the lower reaches of the New River Gorge to Gauley Bridge.
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Also this week:

In accordance with President Biden’s proclamation, Gov. Justice orders all U.S. and State flags to remain at half-staff in honor of former VP Mondale

Virtual Celebration for 60th Anniversary of West Virginia Human Rights Act and Fair Housing Month

WVDOH opens 2021 online grant application system for non-traditional transportation projects

Annual Adopt-A-Highway Spring cleanup set for April 24th

West Virginia Experiences Increase in Overdose Deaths; Health Officials Emphasize Resources
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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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