Governor encourages more young people to get vaccinated

Staff Report

CHARLESTON — During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice continued his pleas for more young West Virginians to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“One thing is absolutely for certain, and that is the more of us that are vaccinated, the less will die,” Gov. Justice said.

According to a news release from his office, the Governor reported that the statewide death toll from COVID-19 had reached (as of Wednesday) 4,219, with 85 more deaths being reported since his previous briefing Monday, including 22 as a result of the DHHR’s data reconciliation with official death certificates.

Of the 85 latest West Virginians to lose their battle against COVID-19, nine were in their 40s, four were in their 30s, and two were in their 20s.

“I really encourage our young people to get vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “We should always be respectful of others’ choices and we should always be neighbors loving neighbors. But, at the same time, we need more and more of us to get vaccinated.”

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that there were 8,469 active cases of COVID-19 statewide; down by 564 cases since the Governor’s previous briefing on Monday.

The active case count was down by 21,275 since peaking one month ago, dropping by 71.5% in that timeframe.

Meanwhile, the state continues to see a steady downward trend in the number of severe COVID cases.

The number of hospitalizations, patients in ICUs, and patients on ventilators have all dropped between 28.7% and 34.4% since peaking in the final week of September.

The number of hospitalizations is now 714; down by 109 over the past week alone. Since peaking at 1,012, hospitalizations have dropped by 298 (29.4%).

The number of patients in ICUs is now 211; down by 28 over the past week alone. Since peaking at 296, the number of patients in ICUs has dropped by 85 (28.7%).

The number of patients on ventilators is now 128; down by 47 over the past week alone. Since peaking at 195, the number of patients on ventilators has dropped by 67 (34.4%).

The County Alert System map continues to show modest improvement, featuring four green counties, four yellow counties, 10 gold counties, 23 orange counties, and 14 red counties.

Gov. Justice announced earlier in the day Wednesday that West Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.2% for September 2021; the lowest such rate ever recorded in all of state history.

West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also decreased in September, dropping to 4.6%; just two-tenths of a percentage point away from the all-time state record of 4.4%, set in June 2008.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has now decreased for 17 consecutive months.

For the seventh straight month, West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains better than the national unemployment rate.

The number of unemployed state residents decreased by 2,100 in September, while total employment grew 1,200 over the month. Overall, West Virginia’s labor force participation rate has returned to its pre-pandemic level and is continuing an upward trend which began in 2017.

With the percentage of fully vaccinated residents hospitalized for COVID-19 slowly creeping higher in recent weeks, Gov. Justice took time during his briefing to encourage all West Virginians to determine if they qualify for a booster dose and then get one if they are eligible.

West Virginians who received specifically the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may qualify for the booster shot if it has been at least six months since their second dose.

If you are eligible for the booster shot, you can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with your vaccination card to receive the booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.

With flu season getting underway, Gov. Justice and State health officials took time to encourage all West Virginians to get their flu vaccine.

According to health officials, everyone 6 months and older should receive this vaccine.

In addition to providing protection from the flu, this vaccine helps reduce the burden on hospitals and healthcare systems.

Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time.

Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.

Staff Report