CHARLESTON — During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Jim 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, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“The boosters are available now. You’ve got to protect yourself,” Gov. Justice said. “I would run to the fire and get that booster shot.”
There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.
Per the latest 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:
65 years and older;
Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings;
Age 18+ who have *underlying medical conditions;
Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings;
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.
The Governor and state health experts went on to say that West Virginia continues its preparations ahead of the federal government’s expected approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11.
“We’re actively preparing for the approval of the COVID vaccine for kids from 5 to 11 years old,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ll be ready to go the second the final approval comes out.”
On Friday, Pfizer-BioNTech received emergency use authorization from the FDA for their COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. However the CDC must also give its approval before doses can begin being distributed to this age group.
“We anticipate that tomorrow (Tuesday), when the CDC advisory group comes together, they will also recommend the vaccine for children 5 through 11 years old,” State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said. “In West Virginia, we still see a substantial number of new cases in this age group. So we hope that parents will choose to fully vaccinate their 5-to-11-year-old children. That’s really important to prevent the risk of Long COVID, the uncommon risk that that these children may experience severe disease if they do get infected, and also to reduce the transmission and continue to reduce the risk for all West Virginians of developing COVID-19 and ending up in the hospital or, even more concerning, to end up on the list of names that the Governor reads during every press briefing.”
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia’s General Revenue collections for October 2021 came in at $38.7 million above estimates.
October collections were 7.3% ahead of prior year receipts.
Year-to-date collections are $181.4 million above estimates four months into Fiscal Year 2022.
“It’s become old hat. But to have all this success, month after month, we would have danced in the streets not that long ago. Before I walked in the door, all of this would have been impossible,” Gov. Justice said. “We had deficits like you can’t imagine. No one had a solution whatsoever, other than more and more cuts.
“But with the great work of the Legislature and all those with me, we started to make things change,” Gov. Justice continued. “We’ve managed to not grow our spending. We’ve managed to push the right buttons. We’ve brought so much goodness to our people, it’s off the chart.”
On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there were 6,940 active cases of COVID-19 statewide; down by 689 cases since the Governor’s previous briefing on Friday last week.
The active case count is down by 22,804 since peaking in mid-September, dropping by more than three-quarters (76.7%) in that time.
Meanwhile, the state continues to see a steady downward trend in the number of severe COVID cases, according to the news release.
The number of hospitalizations, patients in ICUs, and patients on ventilators have all dropped between 36.8% and 42.2% since peaking in the final week of September.
The number of hospitalizations is now 585; down by 62 over the past week. Since peaking at 1,012, hospitalizations have dropped by 427 (42.2%).
The number of patients in ICUs is now 187; down by three over the past week. Since peaking at 296, the number of patients in ICUs has dropped by 109 (36.8%).
The number of patients on ventilators is now 115; down by two over the past week. Since peaking at 195, the number of patients on ventilators has dropped by 80 (41.0%).
The County Alert System map now features six green counties, six yellow counties, nine gold counties, 25 orange counties, and nine red counties.
Gov. Justice also reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 40 school outbreaks in 18 counties with 629 confirmed cases.
Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.