CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials on Wednesday for his latest daily press briefing regarding the state’s COVID-19 response.
According to a news release from the governor’s office, during Wednesday’s briefing, he called upon all West Virginians age 65 and older who have not yet been vaccinated to schedule an appointment to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
The Governor’s urging comes amid a recent “uptick” in the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths being seen in West Virginia and across the nation.
“There’s been a little uptick in this thing, but we don’t want it to turn into a big uptick,” Gov. Justice said. “We have got to be careful. This thing is not over. We’ve lost 26 more great West Virginians just since Monday.”
The Governor went on to say that, while 75% of West Virginians age 65 and older have been vaccinated so far, he wants to see that number improve even further; to as close to 100% as possible.
“We’ve still got about 90,000 of you folks out there – age 65 and older – that have not taken your shot yet,” Gov. Justice said. “Really and truly we have got to get you vaccinated.
“If you are 65 years of age or older and you have chosen to not get your vaccine, you are making a terrible mistake,” Gov. Justice continued. “If you’re age 65 or older and you get this, as we’ve seen, you’re in tough shape. However, if you get your vaccine, the likelihood of you getting this is diminished unbelievably, and even if you were to get it, which is highly unlikely, your odds of being hospitalized go down phenomenally, and the possibility of death is almost zero. You have got to get your shot. Please listen to me.”
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia has now successfully administered 892,596 doses after receiving a total allotment of 930,090 doses from the federal government to date; an overall administration rate of 96.0%.
West Virginia currently boasts a first dose administration rate of 101.2%, which exceeds 100% due to extra doses being extracted from vials of the vaccine, and a second dose administration rate of 89.1%.
First doses: 532,890 administered / 526,570 allotted;
Second doses: 359,706 administered / 403,520 allotted.
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older. However, West Virginians who are age 65 and older will continue to be prioritized first until all state residents in this age range who desire the vaccine have been vaccinated.
To date, 242,204 West Virginians age 65 and older have chosen to be vaccinated – over 75% of West Virginia’s population in this age range – including 195,645 who are now fully vaccinated.
At the Governor’s direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) has established three fixed-location vaccination clinics in Berkeley, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties to ensure that every West Virginian age 65 and older has access to a vaccine.
Any West Virginians age 65 and older are urged to pre-register for an appointment by visiting vaccinate.wv.gov or calling the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now eight active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia, up from seven such outbreaks as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Monday. The active outbreaks are located in Fayette, Grant, Harrison, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Raleigh counties and account for a total of a total of 92 cases, up from 88 such cases on Monday.
There remain eight active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.
The Governor also reported that there are now 73 inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, up from 52 such cases on Monday. The inmate cases include 24 at Southern Regional Jail, 23 at Salem Correctional Center, and 23 at South Central Regional Jail. Meanwhile, there are now 11 active staff cases across the DCR system, up slightly from 10 such cases on Monday. Gov. Justice announced last week that the state is beginning the process of offering vaccinations to all inmates within the DCR system, age 65 and older, who are interested in receiving the vaccine.
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.
All West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places, regardless of whether or not they are able to maintain proper social distance. The order requires that all businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the requirement and are also responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.
Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.