West Virginia Week in Review - October 30, 2021

10/30/2021

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Gov. Justice encourages booster shots, noting individuals can now mix and match vaccine brands
On Friday, Gov. Justice yet again encouraged all West Virginians to determine if they qualify for a booster dose and then immediately get one if they are eligible. After reading 110 new deaths during his briefing, Gov. Justice noted that 92.2% of the West Virginians who have died from COVID-19 have been unvaccinated. However, he went on to say that there is an increasing percentage of people who were fully vaccinated with the first series of shots that are now in the hospital with COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Governor explained that per CDC recommendations, individuals who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot if it has been at least six months since they completed their initial series of shots and they fall into at least one of the following groups: For individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Per the CDC, eligible individuals now may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
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Average age of COVID deaths continues to drop
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice reported that the average age of COVID-19 deaths in West Virginia continues to decrease. The average age of the individuals who passed away from COVID-19 in all of 2020 was 77 years old. However, over the course of 2021, the average has dropped all the way down to 67 years old – a full decade lower than where the average sat at the start of the year.
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Pfizer retooling distribution to provide enough doses for children upon approval
On Tuesday, Jim Hoyer, Director of the Joint Interagency Task Force announced that this week, West Virginia will not be receiving a shipment of doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adults and instead will receive 50,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children, with officials expected to approve vaccines for children ages 5-11 soon.

“The Centers for Disease Control will meet on November 2nd and we anticipate that they will give the thumbs up for the Pfizer vaccine at 10 micrograms – which is one-third of the dose of the adult vaccine – for 5-to-11-year-old children,” said state Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh on Friday.

On Friday afternoon, the Food and Drug Administration announced its emergency use approval of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11.
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Governor celebrates Halloween with middle school Jim Justice lookalike
On Friday, Gov. Justice took time to welcome 13-year-old Jameson Marble onto his briefing. Marble, a student at John Adams Middle School in Charleston, recently went viral on social media after he dressed up as the Governor for a Halloween celebration, complete with white hair and a stuffed animal Babydog replica. Marble was invited on set during the briefing in his full Governor attire.
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Gov. Justice celebrates Fall Trout Stocking; conducts first ever state stocking of upper Guyandotte River
Gov. Justice celebrated West Virginia’s Fall Trout Stocking season Wednesday with a ceremony on the banks of the upper Guyandotte River in Wyoming County. During the ceremony, Gov. Justice conducted the first-ever state stocking of the Guyandotte and announced that the river will be added to the trout stocking schedule, beginning in 2022.
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Gov. Justice announces West Virginia named top 10 global travel destination
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia was named a Top Travel Region to visit in 2022 by Lonely Planet, as a part of its annual Best in Travel awards. West Virginia, the only state in the country selected, joins a first-class group of international destinations. West Virginia joins a star-studded lineup of global destinations, like Westfjords, Iceland; Scenic Rim, Australia; Vancouver Island, Canada; and Burgundy, France, in the category for Best Travel Region 2022.
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Gov. Justice, DHHR congratulate Dr. Rahul Gupta
On Friday, Gov. Justice congratulated former West Virginia State Health Officer Dr. Rahul Gupta on officially being confirmed as the Director of National Drug Control Policy.

“Dr. Gupta is the first medical doctor to ever lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,” Gov. Justice said. “He served as West Virginia’s chief health officer from 2015 to 2018. I congratulate Dr. Gupta. This is a big-time appointment for a great West Virginian.”

Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources also congratulated Dr. Gupta in his new role.
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WVDOH awards MacCorkle Avenue construction project
On Thursday, the West Virginia Division of Highways announced the award of a contract for $10,036,333.91 to completely rebuild a section of MacCorkle Avenue, as part of longstanding plans to upgrade MacCorkle Avenue through the Kanawha City area of Charleston. Mountaineer Contractors Inc. was the lowest of three bidders for the project, which will rebuild MacCorkle Avenue from the ground up between 33rd Street and 40th Street in Kanawha City. It is among 17 projects that were awarded from a bid letting conducted by the WVDOH on Oct. 19.
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Snowplow drivers gearing up for winter: WVDOH hiring statewide
It’s still October, but the West Virginia Division of Highways is thinking ahead to keep drivers safe in snow and ice. This week, drivers in WVDOH District 1 finished their dry runs for winter snowplow routes. There are jobs available for Transportation Workers not only in District 1 but statewide. 
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West Virginia Department of Tourism releases fourth fall foliage report and featured country road trip of 2021

Color is still peaking throughout much of West Virginia as the Department of Tourism releases its fourth fall foliage report to help travelers enjoy peak leaf season. This report marks the fourth in a series of weekly updates, prepared in partnership with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, to help travelers plan autumn road trips and adventures based on peak foliage across the state. Due to a warmer than usual fall, color has been slower to peak in West Virginia this year. The higher elevations in the eastern mountains are past peak, but color is still spreading throughout much of the Mountain State, especially in the north-central region, the panhandles and the southern counties.

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WVDOT recruiting efforts pay off with 326 hired this year
As part of Gov. Justice’s $2.8 billion Roads To Prosperity highway construction and maintenance program, the West Virginia Legislature passed a bill that was signed into law by the Governor, allowing WVDOT to hire workers independent of normal state personnel procedures. Since Jan. 1, 2021, WVDOT has hired 326 new employees. By the end of 2021, WVDOT will have participated in 35 job and career fairs at colleges, universities, technical centers, and WorkForce West Virginia sites all over the Mountain State, and will have held eight different hiring events.
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WVDEP approves 17 applicants for FY2022 CED recycling grants
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday that 17 applicants have been approved for grant amounts totaling $131,987 from the agency's Covered Electronic Devices (CED) Recycling Grant Program. Established in 2008 under the WVDEP’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP), the CED Program requires that manufacturers register their brands with the State. The fees collected from this program allow counties and municipalities to apply for CED recycling grants to conduct electronic device collection events and support ongoing collection programs.
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Before you celebrate with the ghouls and goblins, plan for a sober ride
Halloween is a beloved holiday tradition in America, with millions of people, young and old, working on their best costumes and gearing up for a night of candy and festivities. The evening also comes with parties and get-togethers, as well as an increase in drunk drivers on the roads. To help spread the message that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind everyone of the dangers of drunk driving.
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2021 West Virginia State Marching Band Invitational Championship winners announced
Forty-three bands from around the state showcased their talents in the tenth annual West Virginia State Marching Band Invitational Championship at the University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field on Saturday, Oct. 23. Cabell Midland High School won the Overall “Honor Band” Award and Old Gold Division Grand Champion, and Paden City High School won the Blue Division Grand Champion award. Bands were judged on general effect, marching and maneuvering, music, music effect, percussion, drum major, color guard, majorettes and feature twirler.
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Also this week:

Governor celebrates 50th anniversary of Pratt & Whitney Canada

Office of Medical Cannabis to Host Patient Sign Up Event November 4 in Elkins

Virtual Public Forums to be held on the West Virginia Substance Use Response Plan


Gov. Justice signed Executive Order 29-21
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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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