|CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.|
|SERIES OF VACCINATION CLINICS TO BE HELD FOR WEST VIRGINIANS AGE 80 AND OLDER THROUGH OPERATION “SAVE OUR WISDOM”|
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that a series of 10 vaccination clinics will be held later this week, at seven locations across the state, for members of the general public age 80 and older.
These clinics are being held in addition to other vaccination events already underway or scheduled through local health departments across the state.
The earliest of the clinics will begin tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. However, each location has its own, unique schedule. Some locations require an appointment, while others do not.
Times, locations, and other details for each of the clinics are as follows:
These clinics are part of Gov. Justice’s renewed focus on providing COVID-19 vaccines to West Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens. Wednesday, the Governor announced that the effort to vaccinate all individuals age 80 and older, as well as all Pre-K-12 school faculty and staff age 50 and older, has been officially named operation “Save Our Wisdom.”
“I’ve been screaming to the mountaintops that the very thing that we all ought to be the most concerned with is age, age, age,” Gov. Justice said. “So we pivoted. And now, we’re giving real hope to our seniors. That’s what we mean when we say ‘Save Our Wisdom.’ We can’t let our wisdom just die away. We’ve got to have the wisdom for the young people of our state. To all the people that have this wisdom, we are trying in every way in the world to save you today, because you are so precious to us in every way.
“We also want to be able to vaccinate our teachers and school service personnel so we can get our kids back in school,” Gov. Justice continued.
The Governor once again noted that vaccinations for Pre-K-12 teachers and staff will begin tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Information on where and when each school employee will be able to receive the vaccine will be distributed through the West Virginia Department of Education, directly to the superintendents of each county.
Gov. Justice also announced that, in preparation for the reopening of schools on Jan. 19, 2021, he will be organizing a series of virtual calls with teachers and other school employees from around the state.
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION UPDATE
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice once again provided an update on State pandemic response officials’ progress distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccines.
As of Wednesday morning, 60,933 first doses have been administered and 563 second doses have been administered. A total of 109,440 vaccines have been delivered to West Virginia to date, making the state’s vaccine administration rate 55.67 percent.
The Governor added that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted a new COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker on their website and West Virginia remains among the top states in the nation for vaccine distribution on a per capita basis.
The Governor also went on to note that vaccinations for individuals in phases 1-A through 1-D of the state’s vaccine allocation plan continue this week, including healthcare workers and staff at higher education institutions age 50 and above. Learn more at vaccinate.wv.gov.
SECOND DOSES BEING ADMINISTERED AT LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that residents and staff members at long-term care facilities across West Virginia have begun receiving their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week.
The Governor was joined today by Todd Jones, president of AMFM Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, to discuss the progress being seen at their facilities.
“Governor, we are very excited to have the second round of the Pfizer vaccines being rolled out today. West Virginia is the first state in the country to provide both doses to the long-term care community, which is a tribute to the plan the folks here have put together,” Jones said. “Many states have not even begun their process. A lot of the long-term care facilities will not receive their first dose until either the end of this month or the 1st of February. So where West Virginia is right now, leading the country in long-term care, is very exciting.
“We’ve been contacted by folks all over the country, asking us what West Virginia is doing,” Jones continued. “It’s very nice to be leading the country and to have some of the largest counties in the entire country calling West Virginia and asking us how we’ve been successful.
“I thank all the folks who are on this call for their great work that they have done, rolling this out to the long-term care community.”
COVID-19 VACCINE INFO LINE REMINDER
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that the State has launched a new COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line to help West Virginians get information on the distribution process and availability of COVID-19 vaccines.
VACCINE INFO LINE: 1-833-734-0965
The line will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visit vaccinate.wv.gov for more information, including details on vaccine availability and other frequently asked questions.
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state is now 27,626, up slightly from 27,362 active cases during the Governor’s previous COVID-19 briefing on Monday.
West Virginia has recorded 1,516 new positive cases over the past 24 hours.
The number of active hospitalizations is now 818 patients, up from 799 on Monday, with 217 of those patients currently in the ICU.
The cumulative percent of positive cases has now reached a record high of 5.18%.
As of Wednesday morning, the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission – also known as Rt – had increased to 1.05; tied for the 24th-best such rate of any state in the country.
WEDNESDAY MAP UPDATE
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update.
The map is updated live on the DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “County Alert System” tab) throughout the week.
Red counties: 47 (Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Ritchie, Summers, Taylor, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood)
Orange counties: 8 (Calhoun, Clay, Lewis, McDowell, Randolph, Roane, Tucker, Wyoming)
Gold counties: 0
Yellow counties: 0
Green counties: 0
DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “County Alert System” tab)
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there remain 10 active outbreaks in public schools across the state. These outbreaks account for 45 confirmed cases.
West Virginia has 16 active church-related outbreaks across 12 counties: Greenbrier, Harrison, Jackson, Marion, McDowell, Mingo, Monongalia, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers, Upshur, and Wyoming counties. These outbreaks account for a total of 139 cases.
There remain 118 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.
The Governor also reported that there are now 400 active inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, down from 601 such cases as of Monday. Among the cases that are currently active, 251 are at Central Regional Jail, 71 are at Tygart Valley Regional Jail, and 56 are at Saint Marys Correctional Center.
There are 55 active staff cases across the DCR system, up from 54 such cases on Monday.
Click here to view the latest corrections facility update
AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 51 counties across the state that have free testing events scheduled through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.
This testing is available to all residents, including asymptomatic individuals. Proof of insurance is not required. Attendees should bring identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
An interactive online map of all free testing locations across West Virginia is available on the state’s COVID-19 website. Users can filter the map by type of testing site, including daily testing events, recurring testing events, as well as Walgreens and Fruth Pharmacy testing locations. Users can also filter by county. Each location is marked on the map with a pin. After finding a testing location nearby, users are able to click on the pin for more information about that particular testing site, including the specific location and timeframe during which testing will be held.
UPDATED FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT IN EFFECT; SIGNS AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESSES
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his broadened Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.
The order requires all West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places, regardless of whether or not they are able to maintain proper social distance. The order requires that all businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the requirement and are also responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.
Posters are available on the DHHR’s online Face Covering Toolkit for businesses or organizations to print and display. Social media graphics are also available for download and use by the general public.
MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENT REMINDER
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that West Virginia plans to begin utilizing monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 more frequently, following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent emergency authorization of the treatment.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses.
The Governor again urged all West Virginians over the age of 65 who test positive to ask their doctor if they qualify for this type of treatment.
WEST VIRGINIANS CALLED UPON TO DONATE BLOOD AND PLASMA
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice once again encouraged all West Virginians to consider donating blood and plasma through the American Red Cross.
In the Governor’s recent call with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Vice President Mike Pence said that there is still a shortage of plasma and blood all across the nation.
Those fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis may have plasma in their blood containing COVID-19 antibodies that can attack this virus. This plasma is being evaluated as a possible treatment for currently ill COVID-19 patients.
For more information, visit redcross.org or call the local American Red Cross offices at 304-340-3650.
FLU VACCINE REMINDER
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to remind and 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.
Locate a flu vaccine near you through the DHHR website.
CHANGE OF COMMAND CEREMONY HELD MONDAY AFTERNOON
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to remind West Virginians that he held a virtual Change of Command ceremony Monday afternoon to announce that Brig. Gen. William E. “Bill” Crane has officially assumed the duties, roles, and responsibilities as The Adjutant General for the West Virginia National Guard.
Crane is taking over command from Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, who is retiring from active service after 37 years in uniform (1983-2020). Hoyer has served as Adjutant General since 2011 when he was appointed to the position by then Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.
This transition became effective Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
In recognition of his leadership and years of service to his state and nation, Maj. Gen. Hoyer was honored with the WVNG’s West Virginia Distinguished Service Medal. The award was presented by Gov. Justice.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FOR EASTERN PANHANDLE ANNOUNCED MONDAY; BRINGING 25 NEW JOBS TO REGION
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice took time to remind West Virginians that, in another virtual ceremony Monday, he announced that Speedway Motors, a manufacturer, retailer, and distributor of high-quality automotive parts and racing products, plans to open a new distribution center in Kearneysville, bringing 25 new jobs to the state.
Speedway Motors plans to begin hiring for the new distribution facility in January and February. Positions will include human resources, warehouse, and maintenance positions.
Speedway Motors started as a tiny parts shop in Lincoln, Nebraska. Today, Speedway Motors offers more than 250,000 products for race, street, muscle, and rod cars, and employs more than 450 people.
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.