CHARLESTON — During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice announced West Virginia’s number of active COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, ICU patients, and patients on ventilators are now all declining.
“We’re really making improvement,” Gov. Justice said. “We are making some progress, but I ask everyone to still not forget the West Virginians we’ve lost.”
According to a news release from the governor’s office, as of Wednesday, there were 3,574 active cases of COVID-19 and 594 COVID-related hospitalizations statewide.
In one month, total active cases statewide have decreased by more than 83%, stated the news release.
Since nearing peak capacity in early February, West Virginia’s hospitals have also seen a precipitous drop off in the number of patients with severe cases of COVID-19.
Overall hospitalizations are down 46% since the most recent peak, while ICU patients and patients on ventilators are down 43% in the same timeframe.
The West Virginia County Alert Map continues to reflect the state’s improving numbers as well.
An updated breakdown of the West Virginia County Alert Map is as follows:
Red (0) | Orange (1) | Gold (5) | Yellow (22) | Green (27).
COVID-19 booster shots are now authorized and encouraged for all West Virginians ages 12 and older.
Booster shots are available for free to all eligible West Virginians. The waiting period for those who received initial series Pfizer shots has been shortened to five months. Read more about booster eligibility at CDC.gov.
West Virginians can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with their vaccination card to receive their booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.
Initial series vaccinations remain available for free for all West Virginians ages 5 and older.
West Virginians interested in being vaccinated or having their children vaccinated are encouraged to visit Vaccinate.wv.gov or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.
Gov. Justice also took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to announce he has declared a State of Preparedness for 41 counties throughout West Virginia due to the threat of flooding this week.
The main threat will be possible isolated flash flooding due to heavy downpours or steady rain, with storms forecast for much of the state today (Thursday, Feb. 24) and Friday.
The State of Preparedness covers Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mingo, Monongalia, Nicholas, Ohio, Pleasants, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Ritchie, Roane, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood, and Wyoming counties.
Gov. Justice also took time to announce that, prior to his briefing Wednesday, he held a ceremony to sign House Bill 4264, officially changing the designation of Glenville State College to Glenville State University.
The bill passed unanimously in both the West Virginia House of Delegates and the State Senate and takes effect immediately.
“I am proud to sign this and elevate this incredible institution to university status,” Gov. Justice said. “I thank our Legislature and I congratulate President Mark Manchin and everybody at Glenville State in every way.”
Glenville State University now offers majors in education, criminal justice, social services, science, fine arts, language, land resources, business, healthcare, and more. They are a member of the Mountain East Conference and offer 17 NCAA Division II sports teams.
“They’ve got a lot of great stuff going on right now,” Gov. Justice added. “This year is their 150th anniversary and, on top of that, they’ve got one of the top-ranked women’s basketball teams in the entire nation at 25-0.
“So congratulations and keep up the great work.”
Gov. Justice also took time to recap his trip to Davis yesterday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge to celebrate its grand reopening after the completion of a multimillion-dollar renovation project, and to celebrate the completion of several additional major improvement projects at Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort state parks.
The lodge and other facilities at Blackwater Falls State Park are reopening after the completion of $6.85 million in renovations and improvements – including $5.2 million for the lodge alone.
Canaan Valley Resort State Park is also nearing completion on $2.65 million in upgrades to its facilities.
The combined $9.5 million in projects bring much-needed improvements to Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort state parks. Upgrades include a completely renovated lodge and cabin upgrades at Blackwater Falls and improvements to the tube park, ski area, cabins, and campground at Canaan Valley Resort State Park.
Additionally, Gov. Justice took time to recap his visit to Parsons yesterday for a ceremony to announce that he has approved the bid award for the Corridor H Cheat River Bridge Project.
The successful bid of $147,839,550 was made by Triton Construction of St. Albans.
At 3,300 feet, the Cheat River Bridge will be among the longest bridges in West Virginia when completed. The four-lane bridge will link the 15-mile stretch of Corridor H between Kerens and Parsons with the section between Parsons and Davis.
The Governor was joined for the announcement by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, U.S. Congressman David McKinley, and other officials.
Currently, 123 miles of Corridor H are open to traffic in West Virginia, with 31 miles left to open, including 10.9 miles that are under active construction. When Corridor H is fully completed, it will connect Interstate 79 in Weston, WV, to Interstate 81 in Strasburg, VA.
Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.