CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice started Thursday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing by reading 97 deaths, the most he’s ever had to read, the governor said. “It’s awful. It’s really, really sad. This is the impact of the surge,” Justice said. Despite overall COVID case numbers going down in the state, “we’re going to continue lose more and more,” Justice said.

School Outbreaks:

There are 60 outbreaks in schools, in 24 counties, with nearly 700 students testing positive for COVID, Gov. Justice reported.

Save our Care Update:

Payments have begun going out to around 40 hospitals around the state as part of the “Save our Care” program aimed at helping medical facilities pay overtime and retention bonuses to staff, state officials said.

WV Rental Assistance Program:

The governor also reminded state residents that the West Virginia Rental Assistance program is still available for renters and landlords. Nearly 10,000 applications have been received so far, totaling $46 million. The state has $200 million earmarked for the program.

Do it for Babydog Sweepstakes:

The final winners in the Do it for Babydog vaccine sweepstakes will be announced Friday, culminating with a Corvette being given away on Friday night in Charleston, Justice said.

Flu Shot Reminder:

The governor reminded residents to get their flu shots, saying he got his this week.

Special Session on Redistricting:

Justice also announced that he will be calling for a special session of the state legislature to focus on congressional redistricting. The session will start on October 11.