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Gov. Jim Justice Wednesday

All live music performances to resume; color-coded county map to no longer determine high school schedules

CHARLESTON — During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that he would be signing Executive Order 9-21, allowing all types of live music performances to resume, effective at midnight tonight.

The executive order also allows all summer camps to resume on May 1, 2021.

All live music performances and summer camp operations must follow all applicable safety guidelines.

Click here to view all guidance documents

Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he would be signing Executive Order 10-21, clarifying that the DHHR’s color-coded County Alert System map will no longer be used to determine high school schedules in West Virginia.

“This system has been really valuable to us,” Gov. Justice said. “When we originally announced our color coded map for school reopenings, it was the best way to make sure we were keeping our students and teachers safe. It served us really well and I truly believe it saved a lot of lives. I thank all those that helped implement this system. But now that all of our teachers, service personnel, and other school employees who wanted the vaccine are vaccinated, it’s time for us to retire the map and move forward.

“I’m really happy to say that all of our schools are open because it’s going to fill a void for our students,” Gov. Justice continued.

All high schools will join all of West Virginia’s Pre-K-8 schools in being open full-time and will remain open unless there is an active outbreak that would require a particular classroom within a school to close for safety reasons, a determination that will be made by local health and education officials.

“We have guidance that is directed from the DHHR and our epidemiologists, working in concert with local health departments, county health boards, and the Department of Education, that identifies substantial outbreaks; meaning that we have documented COVID in a particular area of that school,” West Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said. “We then determine whether or not the exposure to others from that case is substantial enough that we need to either have a classroom be dismissed and isolated or quarantined, or more than one classroom.”

“Our team will always continue to monitor and watch as close as we possibly can, and our health experts will intervene if we feel we have to,” Gov. Justice said.

The Governor urged all students and school employees to continue following all applicable safety guidelines both during school and after school, especially during extracurricular activities.

Later in the briefing, Gov. Justice provide a final daily update of the County Alert System map for Wednesday:

Red counties: 1
Orange counties: 7
Gold counties: 6
Yellow counties: 8
Green counties: 33

INCREASED EMPHASIS TO BE PLACED ON VACCINATING WEST VIRGINIANS AGE 16 TO 29

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that, with new COVID-19 variants being identified in West Virginia, pandemic response leaders will now balance the state’s vaccination strategy with targeting the reduction of transmission, along with targeting our most vulnerable citizens to save lives and reduce hospitalizations.

As a result, an increased emphasis will be placed on vaccinated West Virginians age 16 to 29, particularly those in high schools and colleges or universities, in order to reduce transmission numbers among this population and slow the spread of variants.

Clinics will be organized to vaccinate West Virginians age 16 to 18 in high school populations, especially those participating on sports teams, where some outbreaks have occurred. College and university undergraduate and graduate students will also have access to clinics.

During his remarks, West Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh provided more details about the state’s vaccination strategy and the need to vaccinate younger West Virginians.

“SAVE OUR WISDOM”: THREE FIXED-LOCATION CLINICS BEING SET UP IN BERKELEY, KANAWHA, AND MONONGALIA COUNTIES FOR WEST VIRGINIANS AGE 65 AND OLDER

Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that, at his direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force will be setting up three fixed-location vaccination clinics across the state to ensure that every West Virginian age 65 and older has access to a vaccine.

These clinics will be added in Berkeley, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties and will run from Monday through Friday.

“If you are over 65 years old and still waiting on a vaccine, call our COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line as soon as possible,” Gov. Justice said. “Our team will schedule you at one of these locations and will make sure you are taken care of, because we do not want anyone left behind.”

To date, 227,544 West Virginians age 65 and older have chosen to be vaccinated – approximately 70% of West Virginia’s population in this age range – including 154,195 who are now fully vaccinated.

West Virginia COVID-19 Info Line: 1-833-734-0965

MANUFACTURERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES TO FACILITATE ADDITIONAL VACCINATION CLINICS

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that, under his direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force is beginning partnerships with manufacturers and small businesses across West Virginia to facilitate clinics at their facilities and offices.

The clinics will be open to all their employees and their families.

“This is another way we are being proactive to reach into communities and get as many West Virginians vaccinated as possible,” Gov. Justice said. “As of today, we have 10,000 doses of vaccine scheduled to be administered through this initiative this week.

“Some of the companies we have partnered with on this first round include Toyota, Proctor and Gamble, Pilgrims Pride, Alliance Coal, and First Energy,” Gov. Justice continued. “I want to thank these great businesses for stepping up and working with us.”

During his remarks, Joint Interagency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer provided more details about this new partnership.

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