West Virginia Week in Review - January 16, 2021

1/16/2021

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Gov. Justice announces West Virginia reaches U.S.-leading 93.7 percent 1st dose vaccination rate
On Friday, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia continues to lead the nation in the rate of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration. According to the latest vaccine numbers posted to the COVID-19 Dashboard Friday afternoon, West Virginia is now up to a 1st dose administration rate of 93.7 percent.

West Virginia has recorded a 2nd dose administration rate of 80.0 percent.

As of Friday evening, West Virginia has administered 124,325 1st doses and 22,612 second doses, totaling 146,937 doses administered overall statewide. In just the past 24 hours, 12,388 vaccines have been administered.
The Governor also once again provided a reminder that the State has launched a new COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line to help West Virginians get information on the distribution process and availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

VACCINE INFO LINE: 1-833-734-0965

The line operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
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Gov. Justice: All eyes on West Virginia as 100% of vaccines received to date in arms or scheduled to be administered
Gov. Justice announced Monday that 100% of the first-doses of vaccine West Virginia has received from the federal government have either been administered or are scheduled to be administered to a specific person this week.
As West Virginia continues to succeed with vaccine distribution and administration, Gov. Justice was asked to join CNBC’s Squawk on the Street to talk about the steps the state is taking to protect its citizens.
The Governor also spoke on Fox News on Thursday about West Virginia’s continued success with COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.
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Gov. Justice announces vaccines to be offered to all West Virginians age 70 and older
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to all state residents age 70 and older beginning immediately. The Governor added that the CDC is recommending that all states offer vaccines to those age 65 and older, as well as those with pre-existing conditions or comorbidities, as soon as possible.
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Gov. Justice secures more therapeutic treatments
Gov. Justice announced Friday that his recent request to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for additional doses of therapeutic COVID-19 treatments like monoclonal antibodies has been approved. As a result, West Virginia will receive 267 more doses of these life-saving treatments by next week, on top of the amount normally received. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses.
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Gov. Justice introduces financial aid program for renters
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced an upcoming initiative called the Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program, which will provide aid to renters and landlords who have been impacted by COVID-19. The program will be administered by the West Virginia Housing Development Fund and will provide direct financial assistance to renters who have lost their job, had their income reduced, or suffered a significant cost or financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Gov. Justice issues an executive orders on reopening schools, starting winter sports
On Monday, Gov. Justice announced that he issued an executive order establishing that all West Virginia public and private elementary and middle schools may reopen to in-person learning five days each week beginning Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. All high schools will remain closed to in-person classes and extracurricular activities if the school's county is in the red on the DHHR County Alert System. 

Additionally, Gov. Justice issued another executive order announcing that winter sports teams will be able to begin practicing on February 14th, with games beginning on March 3rd.

On Wednesday, the West Virginia Board of Education adopted parameters for in-person instruction in public schools in the state. For grades pre-K through 8, the action outlines expectations that schools offer a full in-person learning option four or five days each week. However, counties may begin with blended learning models providing at least two days of in-person instruction each week.
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Gov. Justice honored to attend funeral for General Chuck Yeager
On Friday, Gov. Justice attended a memorial service celebrating the life of native West Virginia Brig. Gen. Charles "Chuck" Yeager.

“I had the real honor to attend General Yeager’s funeral,” Gov. Justice said. “I was sitting there watching a video play of all the dramatic things that he has done. He flew hundreds of different types of airplanes. He flew all kinds of fighter missions. Not only did he break the sound barrier, but he was also a commander of troops.”

Vice President Mike Pence also attended the memorial and provided remarks in honor of General Yeager.
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Gov. Justice announces conclusion of city/county grant program through CARES Act funding
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that the State’s program to provide CARES Act dollars to cities and counties across West Virginia has now concluded, as all available funds have been exhausted. The Governor reported that a grand total of $264,478,307.01 has been distributed through the program; significantly higher than the original $200 million originally allocated to this effort. Gov. Justice increased the allocation twice to keep up with the demand for the popular relief program.
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Gov. Justice, WVDNR, and Tourism Office attend record-breaking buck scoring and announce 2021 hunting and fishing license giveaway winners
Gov. Justice joined officials from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and West Virginia Tourism Office on Wednesday for a virtual buck scoring event to determine if a buck harvested in Wyoming County is one of the largest typical Pope and Young-class bucks taken in North America in the last five years or among the top 25 of all time. The 12-point trophy buck was taken in November 2020 by Jody Dalton, a Princeton native and avid hunter.

The scoring confirmed Dalton’s buck to be number nine in the top ten ranking of the biggest Pope and Young-class typical deer taken in North America over the last 20 years, and surpassed West Virginia’s state record.
Following the buck scoring, the winners of the 2021 Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License Giveaway were announced. The lifetime license giveaway received 4,000 more applicants than last year’s contest. The WVDNR also reported that the promotion helped increase December license pre-sales by 12 percent compared to last year’s pre-sales.
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WVDOH fighting potholes before they form
Nobody likes potholes, especially the men and women who work tirelessly to patch them. So the West Virginia Division of Highways has begun its annual fight against potholes, starting with prevention. Highways officials have spent the past couple of winters undertaking an aggressive campaign to trim tree canopy above the state’s roadways and ditch along highways as a means of reducing potholes.
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WVDOH provides update on Grant Street Bridge in Mercer County
Officials with the West Virginia Division of Highways are dotting their “I’s” and crossing their “T’s” to get a bridge replacement project in Bluefield ready for bid. In October 2020, Gov. Justice announced $10.5 million in federal, state, and local funding to replace the decaying structure. Plans are complete for the Grant Street Bridge replacement project in Bluefield, with the project expected to go to bid in February. Construction of the new span is expected to start this spring and be complete by the end of 2021.
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DHHR Announces Low Income Energy Assistance Program
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced applications for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program will be accepted now through the close of business on January 29, 2021, or until funds are exhausted. The federally funded program assists eligible state residents in paying home heating bills.
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HHOMA & Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Ecumenical Service on Jan. 18
The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission will host the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Ecumenical Service virtually on Monday, Jan. 18. The public can tune in through the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs Facebook page at 9:30 a.m. or from WV Public Broadcasting, the West Virginia Channel at 8 p.m. The King Center in Atlanta set the 2021 King Holiday theme as “The Urgency of Creating the Beloved Community.” This theme will be showcased throughout the 2021 commemoration.
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Deadline for 2021 Youth Congressional Art Competition submissions extended to March 5
The deadline to turn in submissions for the 2021 Youth Congressional Art competition has been extended to Friday, March 5, 2021. Artwork submissions can be mailed or hand-delivered to the Culture Center in Charleston and must be received by staff no later than March 5. The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History is scheduled to open the exhibit on Friday, March 19, 2021, at the Culture Center.
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Also this week:

WVDOT accepts bids for 14 projects, including Cheat River Bridge

Application for Thirteenth Judicial Circuit vacancy

HHOMA honors student winners of Project on Racism Contest and 37th Annual Poster Competition Jan. 16 & 18

W.Va. Guard supporting the 59th Presidential Inauguration

West Virginia Parkways Authority announces Tamarack will be closed on Tuesdays, through March
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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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