CHARLESTON — During Thursday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice once again called upon all West Virginians ages 12 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and register online to “win big” in the next drawing of the “Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” vaccination lottery, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
The news release also contained information regarding Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits to eligible children this summer, Parkways Authority bonds and a reported “potential security incident involving the Mid Atlantic Career Consortium Employment Services database, or ‘MACC’ website.”
In regards to the vaccination lottery, the registration deadline to be eligible to win in the next prize drawing is Sunday, June 27, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Winners will be announced next Wednesday, June 30.
Additional prize drawings will be held every Wednesday through Aug. 4.
Weekly prize giveaways for vaccinated West Virginians ages 18 and older include one cash prize of $1 million, two brand new custom-outfitted trucks, 25 weekend getaways to West Virginia State Parks, five lifetime hunting licenses, five lifetime fishing licenses, five custom hunting rifles, and five custom hunting shotguns. Additionally, two full four-year scholarships to any public institution in the state will also be given away each week to vaccinated West Virginians ages 12-25.
The final drawing will also include a $1.588 million grand prize and a $588,000 second prize.
Over 300,000 West Virginians have registered for the sweepstakes to date. All West Virginians ages 12 and older who have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are eligible to register by visiting Doitforbabydog.wv.gov.
If you cannot access DoItForBabyDog.wv.gov, you may call the West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-833-734-0965. The Info Line is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A single entry will make you eligible for all subsequent drawings: there is no need to re-enter for each subsequent drawing.
Also on Thursday, Gov. Justice reported that the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Department of Education have received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture to issue Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits to eligible children this summer.
School-age children are eligible if, as of May 31, 2021, they were enrolled in a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program in school year 2020-21 and qualified for free or reduced-price school meals. Children under the age of six are eligible if they are in a household that receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Benefits will be loaded onto existing P-EBT cards that were issued during the 2020-21 program year. The state will not utilize the Mountain State card for summer P-EBT.
The state will issue a one-time benefit of $375 to each eligible child. Benefits are scheduled to be released mid-July. West Virginia estimates that it will issue $83.4 million to approximately 222,395 school children and $13.3 million to approximately 35,463 SNAP-enrolled children during the 2021 summer period.
“This is a great big deal,” Gov. Justice said. “It could help many of our kids and our families. If you’re eligible, please make sure you take advantage of this opportunity, because it’s really good.”
New students enrolling in schools this coming fall, who were not students in the 2020-21 school year, are not eligible for this year’s summer P-EBT.
COVID-19 vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians ages 12 and older.
All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are urged to visit Vaccinate.wv.gov or call 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.
All West Virginians who have received one dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines need to remember to get their second dose as well to ensure maximum protection against COVID-19.
In addition to clinic locations, vaccinations continue to be made available at Walgreens locations, the Med Shoppe/Leader network of pharmacies, Walmart locations, and additional independent pharmacies throughout the state as part of the federal pharmacy partnership in West Virginia.
West Virginians can visit Vaccines.gov for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
The Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) on COVID-19 vaccines continues to ask manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families by reaching out to the JIATF to organize vaccination clinics at their facilities. Additionally, church leaders are still urged to contact the JIATF for help organizing vaccination clinics for interested members of their congregations.
Anyone interested in organizing one of these vaccination clinics is asked to contact the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.
Additionally Thursday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to announce that, after going to the market with a round of Parkways Authority bonds to raise $333 million for road and bridge construction, investor response was so favorable that the State was able to raise an extra $90 million for the Roads To Prosperity highway construction and road maintenance program.
“I’m a firm believer that the market truly realizes how great West Virginia is doing all across the board, and this is just another example,” Gov. Justice said. “We should continue to be proud of our own pond, because we are doing really good. It’s amazing.”
The State’s rating position allowed for a low 2.62 average percentage rate over the 30-year payback period of the bonds.
Projects to be paid for through the bond sale include a $203 million section of the Coalfields Expressway to build a four-lane road from WV 16, near Pineville, to Welch in McDowell County, $19 million to build a new roadway and bridge to ease congestion in the Davis Creek and Corridor G area in Kanawha County, portions of the Beckley Z-Way, improving US 60 between Chelyan and Montgomery, and more.
“This is another step in the right direction,” Gov. Justice said. “I congratulate everyone with Parkways and our entire Department of Transportation. We are getting stuff done, and that’s really good.”
Also during Thursday’s briefing, Scott Adkins, acting Commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia, was on-hand to report that WorkForce has concluded an investigation of a potential security incident involving the Mid Atlantic Career Consortium Employment Services database, or “MACC” website.
Adkins announced that, on April 13, 2021, WorkForce learned that an unauthorized individual accessed the job seekers database. Upon discovery, immediate steps were taken to secure the network, including immediately taking the system offline, and WorkForce immediately began an investigation. An experienced computer forensic firm was hired to help determine what happened and what information may have been accessed.
On May 14, 2021, the investigation identified some personal information stored in the job seekers database was potentially accessible. Workforce West Virginia reports that files were not downloaded, extracted, or manipulated. Still, notification letters were sent to individuals whose personal information was potentially accessed, which included instructions for those individuals to take, if needed, and the contact information of the third-party forensic firm.
“We take this incident very seriously. Although WorkForce has no evidence that the information was misused in any way, we wanted to let folks know,” Adkins said. “WorkForce is offering a year’s-worth of credit reporting monitoring, $1 million in identity fraud loss reimbursement, fraud consultation, identity theft restoration, and so forth.”
Adkins added that, to help prevent something like this from happening again, WorkForce has implemented additional technical safeguards.
“We’ve instituted different software and we’ve changed processes internally to make sure we mitigate or prevent anything like this from happening in the future,” Adkins said.
Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.