West Virginia Week in Review - August 14, 2021

8/14/2021

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Gov. Justice: "Now's the time" to get vaccinated
All week, Gov. Justice and other pandemic response leaders intensified their calls for West Virginians who have not yet received their first dose to reconsider getting vaccinated, as cases, hospitalizations, and the spread of the Delta variant all continue to rise. The Governor reported Friday that there are now more than 300 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant statewide. The current case total is also now more than six times higher than it was five weeks ago.

“It’s plain to see this Delta variant is here,” Gov. Justice said on Wednesday. “I urge and urge everyone to move and get vaccinated. The vaccines are tremendously effective against this variant.”

On Monday, he said, “You need to put this as a number one priority in your life.”
 
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West Virginia ready to provide extra vaccine dose to certain people with weakened immune systems following final approval
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia is ready to begin administering an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to certain immunocompromised people immediately following final CDC approval.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Governor’s briefing, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously to recommend that certain patients with weakened immune systems receive an extra dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccines. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky must now give final approval on the ACIP’s recommendation. Once she gives the green light, qualified patients will immediately begin receiving the extra dose.
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Gov. Justice announces final round of winners in vaccination sweepstakes, says program ends in success
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice traveled the state to surprise the winners of the four biggest prizes given away in the 7th and final round of the “Do it or Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” Vaccination Sweepstakes.

Wally Board, who helps run his family’s realty business in his hometown of Spencer in Roane County, received a life-changing visit from Gov. Justice and Babydog yesterday. The Governor announced that Board had won the sweepstakes’ grand prize of $1,588,000.
Kara Waldeck, a pharmacy worker from Charles Town who herself has administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, also experienced a life-changing surprise yesterday when the Governor and Babydog presented her with the runner-up prize of $588,000.
The Governor and Babydog also surprised Paul Swartz, a registered dietitian at Jackie Withrow Hospital in Beckley, and Megan Landsberg, an adjunct professor of music at Marietta College in Ohio who lives in Vienna, West Virginia, presenting each of them with a brand-new, custom-outfitted truck.
A total of 51 West Virginians were announced as prize winners Tuesday.

On Monday, Gov. Justice declared that the program has been a tremendous success. More than 385,000 West Virginians registered for the sweepstakes in total. Before Gov. Justice announced the “Do it for Babydog” sweepstakes, vaccination rates in West Virginia were slowing down, with just under 900,000 residents having received at least one dose. After the Governor announced the program, however, a steady increase in the number of vaccinated residents resumed.
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WVU and Viatris to negotiate MOU regarding transfer of Mylan plant
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice relayed an announcement by WVU and Viatris that these two entities are going to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the aim of transferring the Mylan plant to WVU. The Governor announced that if the MOU comes to fruition, WVU will work collaboratively with the West Virginia Department of Economic Development to find potential companies to use the space.
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Governor visits Roane General Hospital
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice visited Roane General Hospital in Spencer. Under the direction of administrator Doug Bentz, the hospital just completed a $30 million renovation and upgrade project, complete with a community fitness center and restaurant.
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Workers Comp savings for West Virginia businesses
Gov. Justice announced Wednesday that the National Council on Compensation Insurance, West Virginia’s rating and statistical agent, has filed a proposed workers’ compensation loss cost decrease of 7.9%, effective Nov. 1, 2021. This premium reduction results in a projected $15 million in savings to West Virginia employers.
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Governor congratulates U.S. Prosecutor appointees
Gov. Justice congratulated two West Virginians who have been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as United States Prosecutors. West Virginia Senator Bill Ihlenfeld has been nominated to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, while Boone County Circuit Court Judge William Thompson has been nominated to serve as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.
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Gov. Justice honors memory of former WVU football coach Bobby Bowden
On Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to offer his condolences following the passing of former WVU head football coach Bobby Bowden on Sunday. Bowden is the second-winningest Division I football coach in NCAA history.
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Gov. Justice and West Virginia Aeronautics Commission tout opening of Bill Noe Flight School
West Virginia Aeronautics Commission Director Sean Hill was on hand this week to witness a ribbon cutting for Marshall University’s Bill Noe Flight School. The commercial aviation training school, located at Yeager Airport in Charleston, is scheduled to open for the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 23.

The Governor provided $400,000 in State matching funds for the construction of the new access road around the General Aviation area, opening up 25 acres of buildable land where the new flight school has been built. Gov. Justice attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the project one year ago.
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HHOMA launches statewide listening tour
The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs is embarking on a statewide listening tour to hear what communities need and how the state’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) allocation can help. From August 2021 to December 2022, the marathon tour will visit all 55 counties. At each stop, the HHOMA team will meet with local community leaders, followed by public forums where all community members will be invited to receive information and share their ideas.
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Route 35 final stretch - WVDOT Secretary and Deputy pay surprise visit
West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Byrd White and Deputy Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E., paid a surprise visit to the contractors working on the final stretch of Route 35 on Tuesday. This important project, which would not have been possible without funding from Gov. Justice's Roads to Prosperity Program, has been a goal of West Virginia Division of Highways since the 1980's. When complete, the road will improve safety by taking traffic off the existing, heavily traveled, two-lane section of Route 35. 
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WVDOH accepts bids for 36 projects
Replacement of an aging Webster County bridge is among the projects included in a bid letting conducted by the West Virginia Division of Highways on Tuesday. The project will be paid for with funding from Gov. Justice’s Roads to Prosperity highway construction and maintenance program. WVDOH is reviewing the bids and hopes to award contracts for these projects soon.
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WV Department of Education releases 2021 assessment results
The West Virginia Board of Education reviewed data from the 2021 state summative assessments during its August meeting Wednesday in Charleston. The State Department of Education will use these results to focus efforts and resources on addressing learning gaps and improving individual student achievement throughout the state. Overall results showed 40% of West Virginia students were proficient in English language arts (ELA), while 28% were proficient in mathematics and 27% were proficient in science.
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Also this week:

Governor offers condolences following the deaths of two mining industry workers this week

Governor praises U.S. Senate for passing infrastructure bill

WV Board of Ed Allows Student Extra Time to Earn Academic Eligibility

WVDOH Investing in Future with Scholarship Program

Office of Medical Cannabis to Host Patient Sign Up Event August 25 in Morgantown

Governor clarifies stance on face coverings

Gov. Justice commends Kanawha County Commission vaccine incentive program

Gov. Justice addresses U.S. Census, population decline in West Virginia
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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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