West Virginia Week in Review - January 23, 2021


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2021 West Virginia Inauguration Ceremony held at the State Capitol
The 2021 West Virginia Gubernatorial and Constitutional Officer Inauguration Ceremony was held Friday afternoon on the North Side of the State Capitol Building in Charleston. The ceremony included the swearing in of Governor Jim Justice, Secretary of State Mac Warner, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, State Treasurer Riley Moore, State Auditor John B. McCuskey, and Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt, along with Justice Tim Armstead, Justice John Hutchison, and Justice William Wooten of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. All oaths of office were administered by Chief Justice Evan Jenkins.
After taking his oath of office and being sworn in, Gov. Justice delivered his Inaugural Address, in which he discussed the accomplishments and progress made in West Virginia during his first term in office as well as a preview of goals for his second term; including how he intends to continue the State’s nationally-recognized progress recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Justice was formally sworn in for his second term as Governor of the State of West Virginia at a small ceremony Monday at 12 a.m.
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Gov. Justice announces new online vaccination scheduling system
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that, beginning next Monday, West Virginians will be able to access a new online vaccination scheduling and distribution communication tool that will notify residents about the availability of vaccine doses to help streamline vaccination efforts statewide. West Virginia will be the first state in the nation to utilize this type of digital vaccination scheduling system when it launches on Monday, Jan. 25, at 8 a.m. The tool is through a company called Everbridge, which helps states notify their citizens when there is a fire, flood, or a hurricane.
Beginning Monday, all West Virginians age 65 and older will be able to access the tool through vaccinate.wv.gov to manually add their information themselves. Those who don’t want to go online, can still call the West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line (1-833-734-0965) or their local vaccine distribution location to be signed up by an operator.
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Gov. Justice: West Virginia remains leaders in COVID-19 vaccination rate
This week, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia remains among the national leaders in the rate of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration. According to the latest vaccine numbers posted to the COVID-19 Dashboard Friday, West Virginia is now up to a first dose administration rate of 93.7 percent and a second dose administration rate of 47.7 percent.

As of Friday, West Virginia has administered 146,469 first doses and 35,991 second doses, totaling 182,460 doses administered overall statewide.
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Gov. Justice makes vaccinations available to West Virginians age 65 and older
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia will start offering COVID-19 vaccines to state residents age 65 and older beginning immediately.

“This is what the CDC is asking us to do, and we surely don’t want any obstacles in front of us to get more vaccines moving forward,” Gov. Justice said. “Our clinics will have the ability to vaccinate 10,000 West Virginians age 65 and older every day.”
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Gov. Justice announces public vaccination clinics to be made available in all 55 counties by February
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that the community vaccination clinic model will be expanded to serve all 55 counties in West Virginia by Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. For now, free vaccination clinics for West Virginians age 65 and older were held this week in Berkeley, Braxton, Cabell, Greenbrier, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Kanawha, Logan, Marshall, Mercer, Monongalia, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Randolph, and Wood counties. Residents from any county in West Virginia may access an appointment at any vaccination clinic with availability, regardless of their county of residence. However, many clinics are full at this time and are utilizing waitlists. All clinics require appointments and walk-ins will not be accepted.

On Tuesday, Gov. Justice commended WVU Medicine for their announcement that they will be opening a community-based COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Morgantown-area residents at the former Sears building at the Morgantown Mall.
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Gov. Justice announces Fairmont Medical Center to open dozens of beds to be utilized as COVID-19 surge hospital
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that a recent increase in COVID-19 rates in Harrison, Marion, and Monongalia counties has filled WVU Hospital and United Hospital Center in Clarksburg to capacity. As a result, the Governor said that bed capacity will be increased at Fairmont Medical Center, enabling the hospital to care for up to 42 patients and provide the necessary services to meet the needs of COVD patients and others.
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Gov. Justice welcomes students back for spring semester
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice welcomed students back inside the classroom as it marked the first day back to school for Pre-K-12 students in West Virginia for the spring semester. Forty-eight of the state’s 55 counties were in school on Tuesday. Masks are mandated for all students age 9 and above. All school teachers and employees will be wearing them as well. Approximately 50,000 children will remain in the virtual learning option.

The West Virginia Board of Education met Wednesday in an emergency session to discuss the counties that continue to remain closed to in-person learners. Only three of West Virginia’s 55 counties have failed to offer this option. To monitor this progress, the WVBE requires State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch to submit a report each Monday updating each county’s in-person instruction status.
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Gov. Justice pays tribute to West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance Secretary Dennis Davis
Photo taken October 2020
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice announced that Dennis Davis, Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance, recently passed away.

“We have lost a great, great man in the State of West Virginia. As a Cabinet Secretary, he was all-in for our Veterans,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve lost a big man; a man that was towering in stature, but was absolutely a model in every way. He could be tough. But every time you saw him, you wanted to gravitate to him because of his smile and his warmth.”

Davis was named Cabinet Secretary of the WVDVA in January 2017. Prior to his appointment, Davis, a U.S. Army Veteran himself, served as a member of the Honor Guard at the Donald C. Kinnard Veterans Cemetery.
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Gov. Justice appoints Harold Ward as WVDEP Cabinet Secretary
Gov. Justice announced Wednesday that he has appointed Harold Ward as Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Ward recently served as the WVDEP’s Deputy Secretary of Operations and Director of the Division of Mining and Reclamation, where he oversaw all operational components of the WVDEP, as well as the agency’s mining regulatory program.

In December 2020, Gov. Justice announced that the previous WVDEP Cabinet Secretary, Austin Caperton, would be transitioning to a new role outside of state government.
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HHOMA and MLK Jr. State Holiday Commission commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with annual Ecumenical Service
On Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission hosted the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Ecumenical Service virtually. This year’s commemoration theme was “The Urgency of Creating the Beloved Community.” The commemoration featured keynote speaker Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic and messages from Gov. Justice, HHOMA Executive Director Jill Upson, and faith leaders from around West Virginia.
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Interagency cooperation helps WVDOH go cleaner and greener
The West Virginia Division of Highways now has six new “clean” diesel dump trucks, thanks to a cooperative effort between the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Former WVDEP Secretary Austin Caperton said his employees figured out they could help their sister agency by making use of the federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) to secure $317,241.00 in grant funding to buy new, state-of-the-art diesel vehicles. The act was created to allow government agencies to replace older diesel vehicles with more modern, cleaner-burning technology.
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HHOMA honors student winners of Project on Racism Contest and 37th Annual Poster Competition
The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs hosted a virtual award ceremony to celebrate the student winners of the Project on Racism Contest and 37th Annual Poster Competition.

“The young people in our state have creativity and passion,” said HHOMA Executive Director and Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission Chair Jill Upson. “We are honored to take part in recognizing them, what they have to say and what they have achieved.”
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Also this week:

W.Va. vaccination efforts continue through community vaccine clinic model

How to submit art for the 2022 West Virginia Wildlife Calendar (WVDNR)

West Virginian artists capture wildlife with realism true to nature (WVDNR)

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov


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