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Photo courtesy W.Va. Governor's Office

Justice announces West Virginia surpasses 100 percent vaccine administration rate, mourns loss of second correctional officer

CHARLESTON — During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has become the only state in the nation to achieve an overall vaccine administration rate over 100 percent for both first and second round vaccine doses combined.

“This is a monstrous achievement,” Gov. Justice said. “For the first time ever, we have been excess of 100 percent. It cannot possibly be any better than that.”

“For all those who are out there making this happen, congratulations,” Gov. Justice continued. “I’ve never, in my life, been more proud.”

Gov. Justice went on to announce that free COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be held in all 55 counties across West Virginia once again this week through operation “Save Our Wisdom.”

The clinics are currently available for West Virginians who are 65 years of age and older. To date, 136,038 West Virginians age 65 and older have chosen to be vaccinated, including 60,142 who are now fully vaccinated. Click here for a full list of free vaccination clinics.

Each clinic location has its own, unique schedule. Names are being pulled from the West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Registration System to fill out appointments after waitlists are exhausted. All clinics require appointments and walk-ins will not be accepted.

West Virginia was the first state in the nation to put a statewide vaccination pre-registration system in place. The new digital tool allows West Virginians to add themselves to a list of people who are interested in being vaccinated, and will notify those who sign up about the availability of vaccine doses to help streamline vaccination efforts.

To date, more than 252,000 West Virginians have signed up to be added to the pre-registration list.

All West Virginians over the age of 16 are encouraged to pre-register at vaccinate.wv.gov.

Vaccine supplies are limited, so pre-registration does not mean immediate access to vaccination. Pre-registration offers West Virginians the opportunity to receive real-time updates on vaccine availability and schedule an appointment when available as vaccine supplies allow. The vaccine registration system allows people to select their preferences for communication through text, email, or voicemail over regular phone lines.

West Virginians who need assistance with registration for any reason should call the COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line for help at 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Also on Friday, Gov. Justice took time to mourn the loss of a long-time West Virginia correctional officer, who passed away from COVID-19 over the weekend.

Lieutenant Delmar Dean, who had been with the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation for more than two decades, died Saturday while hospitalized for COVID-19. He had been battling the disease for several months.

Dean was 49 years old and was serving at the Northern Regional Jail and Correctional Facility in Moundsville. His death is the second of a West Virginia correctional employee attributed to COVID-19.

“Think about his family. Please, please, please keep all of them in your prayers,” Gov. Justice said. “I am so sorry. God bless them in every way.”

With a major ice storm forecast for western West Virginia continuing through today and into tomorrow, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to urge all West Virginians to be extra cautious of the potential dangers posed by severe winter weather.

“The traffic conditions are probably not going to be great today, and could be really bad tonight. The I-64 corridor will be particularly hit hard, so we’ve got to watch that,” Gov. Justice said. “We live in West Virginia. It’s wintertime. We all know, when the roads are bad, we should absolutely take all precautions and watch what we’re doing.”

The Governor also said that, in addition to dangerous ice that could form on roadways, the storm could cause power outages and poses a risk of producing freezing temperatures.

He went on to announce that he has called upon the West Virginia Emergency Management Division to stand by on “high alert” to coordinate a potential response to this storm if the need should arise.

The West Virginia Division of Highways is also prepared for the storm, with all of the state’s salt sheds replenished and full. Snow plow drivers will be working 12-hour shifts. Where conditions call for it, roads will be pre-treated.

Crews will be on the roads before the storm hits, during the storm, and after the storm until all roads are cleared. Motorists encountering a snow plow should stay back 100 feet to give the driver space and to avoid salt that may be coming from the back of the plow.

Highways officials recommend that West Virginians avoid being on the roads when possible during icy conditions. However, all vehicles should be equipped with an emergency kit in case an emergency were to arise.

“We’ve had lots of these storms. We’ll get through it, but please be really careful,” Gov. Justice said.

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